The felon suspected of shooting state prisons chief Tom Clements last week obtained the firearm from a 22-year-old Commerce City woman, authorities said Wednesday evening.
Agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation arrested Stevie Marie Vigil on suspicion of allegedly transferring the pistol to Evan Ebel, a parolee who was later killed in a shootout with Texas authorities.
“Oftentimes referred to as a ‘straw purchase,’ investigators believe Vigil purchased the firearm from a licensed firearms dealer in Englewood, and allegedly transferred the weapon to Evan Ebel, a convicted felon who could not legally possess a firearm,” the CBI said in a statement.
“The licensed firearms dealer has been extremely cooperative with investigators, and had no knowledge of Vigil’s alleged actions following her legal purchase of the gun.”
The CBI said authorities started to investigate the firearm purchase Thursday — the day Ebel died.
“Authorities worked throughout the weekend to identify the circumstances regarding the purchase and alleged transfer of the weapon that was in Ebel’s possession in Texas,” the CBI said.
Vigil, who was booked into the Arapahoe County Jail, faces one count of unlawful purchase of a firearm, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 16 years in prison. She was held in lieu if $25,000 bail.
The arrest came as the investigation into Clements’ slaying reached a “slow, lengthy phase,” El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Joe Roybal said Wednesday.
Clements was fatally shot March 19 at the doorstep of his home near Monument.
Ebel, 28, was shot and killed by Texas police March 21 after a high-speed chase. Shell casings recovered from the shootout in Texas were a match to the ones found at the scene of Clements’ death, officials said.
Denver police are also investigating Ebel’s role in the death of Nathan Leon, a Domino’s Pizza delivery man who was killed March 17 in the Denver area.
Authorities were focusing this week on Ebel’s past and whether his prison ties played a role in the Clements killing.