A convicted murderer who escaped prison last month after stabbing a transport bus driver was shot and killed during a shootout with police in Jourdanton, Texas, late Thursday.
The fugitive, 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez, had been on the run since May 12 and is believed to have murdered a Houston family of five — including a grandfather and his four children — at their vacation home in Centerville before making off with their pickup truck.
On Thursday, authorities were able to track down the truck and subsequently encountered the suspect.
“Law enforcement in Atascosa County located the stolen vehicle, disabled it with spike strips, and gunfire ensued,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. He added that no officers were injured in the exchange.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the news Thursday night.
Lopez, a former member of the Mexican Mafia gang, had been serving a life sentence in prison for killing a man near the Texas-Mexico border in 2006.
Texas escapee Gonzalo Lopez inmate shot and killed by authorities
KPRC-TV reported the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was tipped off regarding Lopez’s possible location when someone who was worried about the well-being of their elderly relative called police, leading authorities to the Centerville home.
When officers arrived at the home on Thursday, they discovered the five family members tragically killed but saw no sign of the family’s white Chevy pickup. Authorities executed a statewide search for the vehicle and eventually discovered it a four-and-half hour drive south in Jourdanton, near San Antonio.
The family reportedly arrived at the home, which they owned, earlier in the day for a short stay. Lopez was believed to have been hiding in the vicinity of the cabin in Leon County, but intensive manhunts had failed to locate him.
The fugitive escaped last month while being transported between prisons in Gatesville and Huntsville for a medical appointment. During the bus trip, he allegedly freed himself from hand cage and leg restraints before attacking the driver, stabbing him with a knife.
The two continued their physical altercation off of the bus when a second officer located in the rear exited the bus to help, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Lopez somehow managed to disable both officers and get back on the bus, driving it away. Responding officers took out the bus’s tires, and that’s when Lopez exited and fled into the woods.
The bus was carrying 16 other inmates at the time, however, no one else but Lopez escaped. The department is said to be reviewing its transport protocols in light of the incident.
There had been a $50,000 reward for information leading to Lopez’s recapture.
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Author: Phil Shiver
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