Despite the tragic shooting death of the Department of Corrections director Tom Clements, the Tri-Lakes area is a safe place to live.
Sgt. Rick Tudor of the Monument Police Department said he has lived in the area since 1968 and the Tri-Lakes Area, which has an estimated population of about 40,000 between Monument, Palmer Lake, Woodmoor, Gleneagle and Black Forest, still has substantially less crime than other cities including Castle Rock.
“It's horrendous what happened and we just don't experience that type of crime,” Tudor said.
Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk said when any type of crime happens in the Tri-Lakes area it shocks people because the area has a low crime rate.
Clements was shot to death after answering the door in the 17400 block of Colonial Park Drive off of Higby Road. The home is located in unincorporated El Paso County. There are no suspects at this time and law enforcement is looking for a late model two-door, “boxy”, dark color car similar to a 1990s Lincoln. The sheriff's office has not given a motive for the shooting but it is possible Clements was targeted. However they are considering all possibilities.
Shirk said he feels the Tri-Lakes area is a safe place and crime can happen anywhere. He said that the latest shooting was an isolated incident and there will probably more isolated incidents in the future. Other isolated incidents in the Tri-Lakes area have occurred in recent years. In 2010 construction workers found the remains of eight-year-old Genesis Sims in a crawlspace of a Monument home. Sims was beaten to death by her father and his girlfriend in December of 2008 and then buried in the crawlspace.
In August of 2010 18-year-old Logan McClelland shot 50-year-old Bradley Blehm to death in the parking lot of Big O' Tire Store on Colo. 105 after an argument between Blehm and McClelland's father. Blehm was an employee of Big O' Tire and McClelland said he shot him in self-defense because an intoxicated Blehm lunged at his father.
Shirk said no one is immune to crime saying, “People need to be vigilant whether they are at the grocery store or answering their door.”
A neighbor of the Clements, who wished not to be identified, said she has lived in her home for 13 years and despite what happened to Clements she still feels safe in her neighborhood. She said the only thing they have had to worry about in her neighborhood is all the deer that come on the property.
“I just don't know why he answered the door. I never answer my door at night,” she said.