A convicted murderer who escaped a prison transport bus in Texas in May has been killed in a shootout with police, but not before he allegedly killed a family of five in their home.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, had been on the run since May 12. He had been named the prime suspect in the murder of one adult and four children in the town of Centerville, Texas, approximately 250 miles from where he was shot dead in a residential neighborhood in Jourdanton Texas, late Thursday night.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Chief of Staff Jason Clark told KBTX Lopez was seen driving a suspected stolen Chevy Silverado in the San Antonio area, whereafter a chase ensued that culminated with Lopez exiting the vehicle and shooting at law enforcement. They returned fire, killing Lopez. No officers were injured in the exchange.
The family that was allegedly killed by Lopez was from Houston and had been visiting their weekend home in Centerville. Authorities were alerted by a concerned relative who had not heard from anyone in the family. Upon a wellness check at the residence, police found the bodies of one adult and four minors. Their next of kin has been notified, but authorities have not released the names and ages of the victims to the public yet.
The TDCJ said there was unspecified evidence that Lopez committed the murders in Centerville and that Lopez was not known to the family. In fact, that very home had been searched and cleared multiple times in the days following Lopez’s escape.
“We have cleared that area and cleared that residence multiple times. That is within our search perimeter,” said Clark.
Correction: The TDCJ received updated information regarding the victims. The victims included one adult and four minors. Law enforcement remains on scene and continues to process incident information. https://t.co/OkYxXXbdZ4
— TDCJ (@TDCJ) June 3, 2022
Lopez escaped from a TDCJ prison bus on Highway 7 west of Centerville on May 12 as he was being transported to Huntsville for a medical appointment, KBTX reported. He somehow managed to free himself from his leg and arm restraints and inexplicably cut through the expanded metal cage and crawled out of it.
He attacked the bus driver who then stopped the bus to try and subdue the convict. They both eventually exited the bus.
The driver was then stabbed in the hand and chest, but his wounds were not life-threatening, Clark said.
A second officer from the rear of the bus exited to confront Lopez, who then got back on the bus and started driving down the road before a tire was shot out by pursuing officers. At that point, Lopez fled into the wood line. Sixteen prisoners remained on board and did not attempt to flee, the department said.
A $50,000 reward is still being offered for any assistance in the capture of Lopez, but it would seem the department can now keep that money.
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