The police in Texas have killed 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez during a shootout after the convicted murderer escaped from a prison bus and subsequently killed a family of five. A former member of a Mexican mafia, Lopez was being transported from a Gatesville prison to another in Huntsville for a medical appointment when he escaped in Leon County, a rural community located between Dallas and Houston, on May 12.
Lopez was put in a caged section of the prison bus and shackled. But he managed to free himself and then attacked the driver from behind before taking over the bus. A guard shot at him when he and the driver were put off the bus, but Lopez drove off the road and ran into the woods. For nearly three weeks, police on horseback and foot combed the forest and neighboring communities for him, alerting the public to be wary of him.
The US Marshals Service put a $10,000 bounty for information leading to his arrest. The Texas Department of Public Safety added $35,000 to the amount, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice put another $5,000 to make a total of $50,000 for his recapture. Police and prison authorities described him as having lots of tattoos on his chest and back.
While the search lasted, Lopez was said to have killed a family of five – one adult and four children – in their cabin on Texas Route 7, west of Centerville in Leon County, before taking off with their white 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. The police located the truck on Thursday and engaged the escaped prisoner in a shootout before he was killed in Jourdanton, 35 miles south of San Antonio.
“Law enforcement in Atascosa County located the stolen vehicle, disabled it with spike strips, and gunfire ensued,” said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Lopez was 1996 found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to two eight-year sentences. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006 after he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. And in 2007, he was sentenced to another life imprisonment after conviction for attempted capital murder again.