An escaped convict was quickly captured and killed after Texas officials linked him to the murder of a family of five on Thursday.
A Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) official said the bodies of three children and two adults were discovered Thursday at a home near where Gonzalo Lopez fled May 12, according to Texas CBS – Daughter KBTX. His death was announced hours later. Police said they arrested Lopez, who was serving a life sentence for murder, three weeks after he allegedly cut through a metal barrier, stabbed a correctional officer and fled on foot as he was being transported by bus to a doctor’s appointment.
The Texas Department of Justice (TDCJ) said in a news release shared to social media Thursday night that the bodies of the five apparent murder victims were discovered within Lopez’s search area, which was centered on Centerville, a small town about 120 miles away is north of Houston and about 120 south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Authorities confirmed that 46-year-old Lopez was a suspect in the murders, describing him as a “former member of a Mexican mafia gang” during a news conference.
Shortly after the news conference ended, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office announced that Lopez had been “caught” on social media and promised that “more information” would follow soon. About 20 minutes later, an update to the post noted that Lopez was “deceased.”
“While investigating leads within the search area, law enforcement received a call from a person who was concerned after not hearing from an elderly relative,” TDCJ said publication Conditions. “Law enforcement officers responded to the residence and discovered the bodies of two adults and three children.”
“A 1999 white Chevrolet Silverado, license plate DPV4520, was missing from the apartment,” it said. “Escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez is believed to be driving the vehicle and is armed.”
Photos of the missing truck and Lopez showing off his tattoos were included with the release. Authorities offered a $50,000 reward for Lopez’s arrest. The public was urged to dial 911 immediately upon spotting Lopez. Details of his reported capture and subsequent death were unclear as of Thursday night.
Police officers were conducting a helicopter-based search in the area where the victims were found, according to KBTX. Highway 7, the road Lopez was driving when he escaped, was closed to traffic west of Centerville.
At the time of publication, few additional details about the identity of the victims had been released. TDCJ officials said during Thursday night’s news conference that Lopez was not related to the family, who were from the Houston area.
Robert Hurst, a TDCJ public information officer, said The New York Times last month that Lopez was “very dangerous,” noting that his extensive criminal record included convictions for killing a man with a pickaxe and attempting to kill a sheriff’s deputy.
“The most notable thing is that he killed a guy with a pickaxe,” Hurst said. “We will not stop searching until we find him.”
Hurst told Houston CBS affiliate KHOU last week that Lopez was “smart” and previously escaped custody in southern Texas’ Webb County, where he “was in hiding for nearly nine days.”
news week turned to the TDPS and the TDCJ for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/escaped-texas-inmate-killed-authorities-probe-murders-five-police-1712560 Escaped Texas inmate killed as authorities investigate murders of five: police