COLUMBUS, Ohio - The slain head of the Colorado Department of Corrections was a caring and dedicated professional, Ohio's prisons chief said Wednesday as he recalled a friend he'd spoken to as recently as two days ago.
Prisons directors often gravitate to each other because of the nature of the job, which involves being responsible for people 24/7, said Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Colorado police say Tom Clements was shot at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at his home north of Colorado Springs.
"He was a caring, very humble person," Mohr said. "He deflected and gave staff credit for the agency's reforms he was making and he cared very deeply about his family."
Mohr said he and Clements bonded during training sessions when each was picked to head their state's agency a little more than two years ago. They spoke often on the phone, and on Monday talked about executions and the personal toll that overseeing them can take, Mohr said.
Mohr said he relayed conversations to Clements that he's had with Ohio Gov. John Kasich about the availability of execution drugs and possible execution options. Ohio's supply of its execution drug runs out in September and like other death penalty states, Ohio is searching for alternative drugs.
Mohr, 59, a corrections official for more than 30 years, said he hasn't thought about his own safety yet. He told the Ohio agency's 14,000 employees in a letter Wednesday that Clements' death was a reminder that "tomorrow is never promised."
"The ripple effect of this tragedy will be felt across the country and should also remind us of the serious nature of our responsibilities as corrections professionals, both on the job and in our personal lives," according to the letter provided to The Associated Press.