The Washington Times - March 24, 2013, 10:14AM

On Tuesday, the day before Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three tough gun-control measures into law, Tom Clements, the chief of the Colorado prison system, was shot to death, and it was later discovered that Mr. Hickenlooper was good friends with the father of a suspect.

“I was caught in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from, that all these things kept happening that were to people that I loved, and they didn’t seem to be connected in any way,” Mr. Hickenlooper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “To me, the emotional toll was, you know, much deeper than worrying about security.”

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On Thursday, Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, the son of Hickenlooper friend Jack Ebel, shot and wounded a sheriff’s deputy after being pulled over in a routine drug interdiction in Montague County, Texas, then led authorities on a high-speed chase.

He died following a shootout with Texas deputies. He is under investigation in the shooting deaths of Mr. Clements, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, and Denver pizza deliverer Nathan Leon.

Authorities said Evan Ebel was a member of 211 Crew, a white-supremacist prison group, and had an extensive arrest record. He was released in January after serving eight years for second-degree assault, as well as another six years for assaulting a prison guard in 2006.

“He’s one the hardest-working, most honorable, honest people I’ve ever known,” Mr. Hickenlooper said of Jack Ebel, Even’s father, also calling the elder Mr. Clements “one of the greatest people I’ve ever worked with.”

“To have two people connected — two people I know and love so deeply — to be connected by this, it’s just — it’s inexplicable,” he said.