Updated: March 21, 2013 at 12:00 am
Scott and Debi Pann hesitantly opened their front door on Colonial Park Drive just before 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Less than 20 hours earlier and not more than 200 yards away from their home, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections was gunned down after answering his front door.
Scott Pann stood in his foyer as Debi peeked around the large wooden door to their own house.
“I didn’t want to leave home today to go to my business conference in Denver,” Scott Pann said. “I wanted to be home with my wife.”
Tom Clements was shot about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at his home at 17420 Colonial Park Drive, in the Woodmoor area.
By 11 p.m. sheriff’s deputies had talked with the Panns and by midnight, detectives were combing the woods near Clements’ home and on the property across the street where the Panns live.
Scott Pann said he had arrived home from a class in Colorado Springs about 8:30 p.m. He got his dog and they walked down the long driveway to bring in the garbage cans, he said.
“The alarm was going off at their house,” Scott Pann said. “I knew what he did for a living and I wasn’t about to walk up the driveway.”
A couple minutes later Pann noticed a car going up Clements’ driveway. Deputies later told the neighbor that the car belonged to the family’s pastor.
“So the pastor got there before police,” said Scott Pann.
The Panns, who have lived on the street for 11 years, learned details when another neighbor telephoned them about 9 p.m.
The rest of the night, Scott and Debi hardly slept a wink with the investigation right outside their door. The Sheriff’s Office had its mobile command center truck parked just yards from their bedroom window.
By Wednesday morning the scene was even more imposing. About 40 cars lined the road and investigators from multiple agencies, including police dogs, searched for clues.
Up the hill from the crime scene, more than a dozen news trucks and their crews waited for the Sheriff’s Office’s next reports.
Residents of the normally quiet area continually approached the yellow police tape that kept onlookers away from the investigators and the Clements house. Some drove up and others were walking dogs, but most were snapping photos with smartphones of the media circus that had invaded the neighborhood east of Monument.
Pann said he and his wife didn’t know Tom and Lisa Clements well, but had met them in 2011 when the Clementses moved in.
“I wish there was a way that we could tell Lisa that if there is any way we can help, we will,” Scott Pann said.
Scott said that by his brief encounter with Tom Clements he could tell the DOC chief was “a really nice guy.”
“He was a high-profile guy who was, in my mind, pretty much just assassinated,” Scott Pann said before pausing for a moment. “I just really feel for the family.”