(USA TODAY) -- A Colorado man, who may be linked to the slaying of Colorado's state prison chief, has died from gunshot wounds received in a shootout with Texas police officers, law enforcement officials said Friday.
Wise County sheriff David Walker identified the gunman as Evan Spencer Ebel, a 28-year-old ex-convict with ties to white supremacist groups in Colorado prisons.
Ebel was gravely wounded by police after a harrowing 100-mph car chase and exchange of gunfire with officers about 50 miles northwest of Dallas.
James Boyd, a sheriff's deputy in Montague County who had tried to stop Ebel's vehicle in a routine drug interdiction operation, was hit twice in the chest, but was wearing a bulletproof vest. He remained in a Fort Worth hospital Friday in unknown condition.
Ebel, who was shot in the forehead, was transferred to a Fort Worth hospital and declared dead Thursday afternoon.
"He wasn't planning on being taken alive," said Decatur Police Chief Hoskins, who was shot at four times during the melee, KUSA-TV reported.
He had been driving a black Cadillac with two set of Colorado plates similar to a "boxy" vehicle spotted outside the Monument, Colo., home of Tom Clements, director of the Colorado Department of Correction.
Clements, 58, was shot and killed when he answered the door of his home Monday. Denver police say they are "confident" that Ebel was also involved in the killing of a pizza deliveryman, whose body was found Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
KUSA-TV in Denver said it had confirmed that the same caliber gun used in Clements' murder was used in the Texas shootout. Authorities also found a Domino's Pizza box and jacket inside the Ebel's car.
Officially, however, Colorado and Texas authorities remained tight-lipped about any evidence linking Ebel to the Colorado slayings.
Authorities identified the driver of the black Cadillac involved in a chase and shootout Thursday in Texas as 28-year-old Evan Spencer Ebel, a Colorado parolee who belonged to a white supremacist prison gang.(Photo: Colorado Department of Corrections)
"I want to make it very clear - this is still an active and open investigation," sheriff's Investigator John San Agustin told reporters Friday in Decatur, Texas.
Walker, the Wise County sheriff, said the only evidence linking Ebel to the Colorado killings so far was his black vehicle and the Colorado plates.
Steve Johnson, of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said events in Texas had not led to any easing of security concerns for state officials in Colorado who might be targets of violence.
"We are on heightened alert," Johnson told reporters in Decatur. "We don't have any reason to dismiss that."
The Denver Post first reported Ebel's name, and that he was in a white supremacist prison gang called the 211s. A federal law enforcement official confirmed his identity and gang affiliation to The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Ebel is not on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, but the center rates the gang as one of the most vicious white supremacist groups operating in the nation's prisons, comparable to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Founded in 1995 to protect white prisoners from attacks, it operates only in Colorado and has anywhere from between a couple hundred to 1,000 members, senior fellow Mark Potok said Friday.
The gang has grown into a sophisticated criminal enterprise where members are assigned military titles like "general" and extort money from fellow prisoners, regardless of race. Released members are expected to make money to support those still in prison, Potok said. He said members have to attack someone to get in and can only get out by dying.
"It's blood in and blood out," he said.
In 2005, 32 members were indicted for racketeering and the gang's founder, Benjamin Davis, was sentenced to over 100 years in prison.
He shot at Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins four times as the chief tried to set up a roadblock.
"He wasn't planning on being taken alive," Hoskins said.
Legal records show Ebel was convicted of several crimes in Colorado dating back to 2003, including assaulting a prison guard in 2008. He apparently was paroled, but Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan said she could not release information on prisoners because of the ongoing investigation into Clements' death.
Scott Robinson, a criminal defense attorney and media legal analyst, represented Ebel in 2003 and 2004. He said Ebel had been sentenced to a halfway house for a robbery charge in 2003 before he was accused in two additional robbery cases the following year that garnered prison sentences of three and eight years.
"I thought he was a young man who was redeemable, otherwise I wouldn't have taken the case," Robinson said, saying he didn't recall the details of the case.
Robinson said he knew Ebel before he got in trouble. He said Ebel was raised by a single father and had a younger sister who died in a car accident years ago.
Vicky Bankey said Ebel was in his teens when she lived across from him in suburban Denver until his father moved a couple of years ago. She remembers seeing Ebel once jump off the roof of his house. "He was a handful. I'd see him do some pretty crazy things," she said.
"He had a hair-trigger temper as a kid. But his dad was so nice," Bankey said.
Ebel's father didn't return an after-hours phone message left at his business.
Clements came to Colorado in 2011 after working three decades in the Missouri prison system. Missouri Department of Corrections spokeswoman Mandi Steele said Thursday the department was ready to help in the probe if asked.
The last public official killed in Colorado in the past 10 years was Sean May, a prosecutor in suburban Denver. An assailant killed May as he arrived home from work. Investigators examined May's court cases, but the case remains unsolved.
Contributing: Associated Press