Manhunt after head of Colorado Department of Corrections killed answering doorbell

Fox News

Associated Press

The head of the Colorado Department of Corrections was fatally shot when he  answered the doorbell at his home Tuesday night, authorities say.

Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer says Tom Clements, 58, was shot in the chest around  8:30 p.m. in the town of Monument, which is north of Colorado Springs. It is  unclear if his wife and two daughters were home at the time of the shooting and  police are searching for the gunman.

Authorities are also looking for a dark-colored "boxy" car seen near the  house of Tom Clements, 58, when he was shot around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in  Monument, north of Colorado Springs. The vehicle's engine was running and a  witness reported seeing one person driving away in the car.

Kramer, of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, said investigators have not  ruled anything out, but the shooting could have been related to Clements' job as  executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

"As the director of the Department of Corrections or any similar type  position, it could in fact open someone up to be a target of a crime such as  this. Although we remain sensitive to that, we also want to make sure that we  remain open-minded to other possibilities as well," Kramer said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed Clements to the post in 2011 after  he served for more than three decades in the Missouri Department of Corrections.  He replaced Ari Zavaras, a former Denver police chief who led the department  under two governors. The department operates 20 adult prisons and a juvenile  detainment system.

Hickenlooper was red-eyed and somber and spoke haltingly Wednesday morning at  a news conference in which he said he doesn't think the killing was part of any  larger attack against his cabinet, members of which stood behind him, several of  them crying. Others dabbed their eyes.

"Corrections is a very different job. You make difficult decisions every time  that affect different people," Hickenlooper said, calling Clements dedicated,  funny, caring and an expert on the latest and best methods in his field who  chose the Colorado job over retirement.

"Tom Clements dedicated his life to being a public servant, to making our  state a better place and he is going to be deeply, deeply missed."

Hickenlooper planned to go to Monument to meet with Clements' family after  signing gun-control bills.

A family member called 911 to report the shooting. Search dogs were called in  to comb through a wooded area around Clements' home, and authorities were going  house to house trying to find out what neighbors heard and saw.

Clements lived in a wooded neighborhood of large, two-story houses on  expansive 2-acre lots dotted with evergreen trees in an area known as the Black  Forest. Long driveways connect the homes to narrow, winding roads that thread  the hills. Clements' home was out of view, behind a barricaded of crime-scene  tape in the road.

It would have been simple to find where Clements lived. It took two clicks to  get his correct street address through a publicly available internet locator  service Wednesday morning. The listing also included his previous home address  in Missouri.

After Clements was appointed, Hickenlooper praised Clements for his approach  to incarceration, saying he relied on proven methods to improve prison safety  inside and programs that have been shown to improve successful outcomes after  offenders are released from prison.

While Clements generally kept a low profile, his killing comes a week after  he denied a request by a Saudi national, Homaidan al-Turki, to serve out the  remainder of a Colorado prison sentence in Saudi Arabia. He cited al-Turki's  refusal to undergo sex offender treatment in his denial.

Al-Turki, a well-known member of Denver's Muslim community, was convicted in  state court in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and  extortion and sentenced to 28 years to life in prison. Prosecutors said al-Turki  kept a housekeeper a virtual slave for four years in his home and sexually  assaulted her. A judge reduced the sentence to eight years to life. Al-Turki  insisted the case was politically motivated. He owned a company that some years  ago sold CDs of sermons recorded by Anwar al-Awlaki, killed in a drone strike in  Yemen in 2011.

Al-Turki's conviction angered Saudi officials and prompted the U.S. State  Department to send Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to Saudi Arabia to  meet with King Abdullah, Crown Prince Sultan and al-Turki's family.

After Clements' shooting, someone with the State Department called the  Colorado Corrections Department.

Prisons spokeswoman Alison Morgan said she had no details on the call other  than to say it wasn't connected to the shooting investigation and may have been  a simple courtesy.

"They called us because we have a cooperative international program with  them," she said.

Hickenlooper ordered flags lowered to half-staff at public buildings until  the day after Clements' funeral. Arrangements are pending.

Clements is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Rachel and  Sara.

Clements received a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in  public administration from the University of Missouri. He started with the  Missouri Department of Corrections in 1979 and over his 31 years there worked in  prisons as well as probation and parole services. He was director of adult  institutions when he left.

Missouri leaders also mourned his death.

George Lombardi, director of Missouri's Department of Corrections, said  Clements was "just a very good, decent person."

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in an emailed statement that Clements "dedicated  his professional life and his considerable skills to public service and  protection, and the citizens of Missouri join the people of Colorado in mourning  this tremendous loss."

Clements is at least the second state prisons chief killed in office. Michael  Francke, director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, was stabbed to death  outside his office in 1989 in what prosecutors described as a bungled car  burglary. A convicted drug dealer, Frank Gable, was found guilty of aggravated  murder in 1991 and sentenced to life in prison. He and supporters contend he was  wrongly convicted.

Clements' slaying was reminiscent of the 2008 killing of Adams County  prosecutor Sean May. His wife was six months pregnant when he was shot and  killed as he returned from work to his home in northwest Denver. His killer was  never found.

Andy Griffith widow to raze his home

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — The widow of actor Andy Griffith has gotten a permit to tear  down the house where he lived for many years on the North Carolina waterfront,  upsetting friends who had hoped it would be preserved as a museum or  Graceland-type estate.

Cindi Griffith obtained the demolition permit Monday, according to Dare  County records. County officials and friends confirmed the permit is to demolish  a smaller house along the Roanoke Sound that Griffith bought in the 1950s, not  the larger house that he and Cindi built nearby several years ago.

William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were  friends with Griffith and his first wife, Barbara, said Griffith told him in  2007 that he wanted to preserve the older home as a museum. The two discussed  the possibility when Long had an exhibit of his costumes at the Cameron Art  Museum in Wilmington, Long said.

"We compared notes," Long said in a phone interview from his studio in New  York City. "I had to fit mine into an existing museum. I told him, if you're  doing yours, you can make it however you want it."

Griffith, who died last July, was best known for playing the wise Sheriff  Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" and folksy lawyer Ben Matlock on  "Matlock." He starred as the manipulative Lonesome Rhodes in the movie "A Face  in the Crowd." One of his last roles was as a cranky diner owner in the movie  "Waitress."

Griffith wanted the museum to include items from his TV shows, along with  memorabilia from his music career, Long said. They didn't discuss whether it  would compete with the Andy Griffith Museum in Griffith's hometown of Mount  Airy, Long said.

Cindi Griffith didn't return messages Wednesday. Her husband's will doesn't  mention a museum or the property. The will — dated May 3, 2012, two months  before Griffith died — turns over most of his property and estate to the trustee  of a trust, whose records aren't public. The attorney for the will declined to  comment.

The demolition contractor, Calvin Gibbs, also didn't return a call. It wasn't  clear Wednesday if the demolition had begun.

Della Basnight of Manteo, whose family was friends with Griffith since she  was a child, said she understood that Cindi Griffith had the right to do  whatever she wanted with the property.

But concerning the demolition, Basnight said, "When he gave her the power to  do anything, I don't think he thought she would want to do that."

Many of Griffith's older friends met him while they worked in "The Lost  Colony," an outdoor drama that tells the story of the 1587 colony on the North  Carolina coast that mysteriously disappeared.

Ira David Wood III, who is the show's executive director this summer, first  worked at "The Lost Colony" in 1968. He recalled going to Griffith's house and  taking a pontoon boat to a sandbar where Griffith and his guests played  volleyball for hours. "He hated to lose, and he did cheat," Wood said, laughing  at the fond memory.

He said he was shocked to learn the house would be demolished. "I always  assumed the property would be eventually preserved and opened to the public,"  Wood said, saying he thought it might be maintained like Elvis Presley's  property Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Just as Presley is buried at Graceland,  Griffith is buried on the large piece of property he owned on the North Carolina  coast. It was not immediately clear how far Griffith's grave is from his older  house or the newer one.

"I imagine Cindi has her reasons, and I don't pretend to know what they are,"  Wood said. "It's a beautiful bit of property with a lot of memories attached to  it. I just hope they're not moving too fast."

Griffith bought the house the first time he had any real money and raised his  two children there, Basnight said.

"I had really sort of always thought it would be secured," she said. "I  always thought it would remain."

Southern Baptists expand in New England with multi-million dollar church-planting push

Associated Press

The Southern Baptist  Convention is making a multi-million dollar push to plant more churches in New  England, a region skeptical of the South and increasingly indifferent to  religion.

Since 2002, Southern Baptists have spent roughly $5 million to plant churches  around the region. Another $800,000 is committed this year.

They've started 133 new churches in that time, a nearly 70 percent increase  that brings their regional total to 325.

Hartford Seminary professor Scott Thumma says no denomination is investing as  much in New England church planting. He notes that church attendance —  which is  up 20 percent  —  is not growing as fast as the number of churches.

Thumma said there's little proof they're reaching area lifers, including the  Roman Catholic population and increasing numbers of secularists.

'Bible' producers dismiss Obama-Satan connection

Associated Press

NEW YORK — The producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet  chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is "utter  nonsense."

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said Monday the Moroccan actor who played Satan  in the History channel series, Mehdi Ouzaani, has played Satanic characters in  other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president.

The connection got widespread attention after talk show host Glenn Beck last  week tweeted: "Does Satan look EXACTLY like Obama? Yes!"

History said in a statement that the network has "the highest respect" for  Obama, and that "it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection."

"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a  fellow Christian," said Downey, the "Touched By an Angel" actress who is married  to Burnett. "False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish  distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible."

Beck has actually been a big supporter of "The Bible." The same tweet that  pointed out the actor's resemblance to Obama urged his followers: "Don't miss  it."

On Monday, Beck tweeted "Media — relax."

He said the observation was "funny, nothing more" and that the series "is 1  of my fav shows. Keep watching."

The five-part miniseries has been a big hit for History, reaching more than  13 million viewers for its first episode.

'Bible' producers dismiss Obama-Satan connection

Associated Press

NEW YORK — The producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet  chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is "utter  nonsense."

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said Monday the Moroccan actor who played Satan  in the History channel series, Mehdi Ouzaani, has played Satanic characters in  other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president.

The connection got widespread attention after talk show host Glenn Beck last  week tweeted: "Does Satan look EXACTLY like Obama? Yes!"

History said in a statement that the network has "the highest respect" for  Obama, and that "it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection."

"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a  fellow Christian," said Downey, the "Touched By an Angel" actress who is married  to Burnett. "False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish  distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible."

Beck has actually been a big supporter of "The Bible." The same tweet that  pointed out the actor's resemblance to Obama urged his followers: "Don't miss  it."

On Monday, Beck tweeted "Media — relax."

He said the observation was "funny, nothing more" and that the series "is 1  of my fav shows. Keep watching."

The five-part miniseries has been a big hit for History, reaching more than  13 million viewers for its first episode.

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