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CNN "Newsroom" - Transcript - Prison Activity and Crime

Interview

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Date:
Location: Unknown

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BALDWIN: And here again is the suspect, career criminal Evan Ebel, allegedly a white supremacist gang member. He was paroled from Clements' prison system just back in January. Ebel, himself, was gunned down Thursday in Texas after a high-speed 30-mile shoot-out.

He is also suspected in at least one other fatal shooting since his release on parole in January.

And with me now from just outside of that memorial is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Governor, thank you for being with me. I know this is incredibly emotional for you, a difficult time. I'm sorry for your loss. I want to begin with Tom Clements. Do you think that he was a target of this white supremacist prison gang? Do you fear that you, other state officials in Colorado could be targets as well?

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO: Well, obviously, we're going to take all the security measures we can, but in the end, you know, I still -- you know, maybe it is the opposite. I think it is an individual unique situation.

And, you know, Tom Clements was a remarkable person. He oversaw one of the coldest, darkest of worlds with the warmest and, you know, and most tender of hearts. For this happen to him is incomprehensible, but I don't think it means it is a part of a larger conspiracy.

BALDWIN: You don't. So, at this difficult time, you know, I know people in Colorado perhaps are fearful as there is increased security for you, for other officials. You are not fearful that there is some mass conspiracy; you believe that this was targeted?

HICKENLOOPER: No, I think we're -- I think this is one individual did this. Obviously we're going to continue gathering information and we're going to look at every possibility and we're going to maintain a heightened sense of security as we do those investigations.

I mean, at this point, we're still so devastated by -- by losing Tom, that it is -- you know, it is hard to worry about ourselves.

BALDWIN: Sure.

Governor, what about the suspect here, Mr. Ebel? I know that you knew his family, you know his family, you have known him from a very young age. And I have read that you knew early on he was troubled. Can you tell me more about this man?

HICKENLOOPER: His dad was one of my first friends in Colorado. I have known him over 30 years, one of the nicest, most honorable and generous people I have ever known.

He and Tom Clements are in so many ways so much alike, and the irony of this is incredible.

BALDWIN: How so?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, the sense that Evan Ebel, who really was from the early age just had an anger and a cruelty. I mean, he was -- he just had a bad streak and they tried everything, I mean, again and again, from an early, early age, with no great success.

But he got put into administrative segregation, all right, solitary confinement over six years ago. And so, I mean, he was judged to be too great a risk to the prison community and to that environment. And one of the things Tom fought for was we have too many people in solitary confinement with mental disorders like Evan Ebel.

And we release them. We won't release them in prison. We release them right into the general public. And this is one of the -- as I call it, the quiet crusade that Tom Clements really believed in, that we have to do a better job of identifying and dealing with mental illness with inmates, and putting so many people into solitary confinement and then releasing them into the general public is a recipe for disaster.

BALDWIN: And as you talk about Tom Clements, as we mentioned, you were part of this ceremony, this memorial there as you stand in Colorado Springs.

We played some sound earlier from his wife, talking about sort of when they first met, I think, in some juvenile class many years ago.

What was the most emotional part of this memorial?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I thought it was -- Lisa is such an amazing woman. And they were a beautiful match together and worked very well together.

And hearing her tell some of these stories, at age 19, he was in the front row of the juvenile delinquency class. She was in the back, and he was in the front. He's the extrovert. She's the introvert. And then how they built this life together, their two incredible daughters, it is -- it's a tragedy beyond any words.

BALDWIN: Mr. -- Governor Hickenlooper, I thank you so much for joining me again. I'm sorry for your loss and we will follow this investigation out of your state of Colorado. Appreciate it.

HICKENLOOPER: You got it. Thank you, Brooke.

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