A Texas fugitive who authorities say killed a family of 5 has died after a shootout with police

A Texas fugitive who authorities say killed a family of 5 has died after a shootout with police

Convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez, who escaped last month from a prison transport bus in Texas, was killed in a shootout with police Thursday night, according to authorities. Hours earlier, authorities said Lopez was the prime suspect in the slaying of five people, including four children, at a Leon County home. Lopez fled the house in a pickup truck that was later disabled by a strip of nails in the city of Jourdanton, Jason Clark of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said at a news conference Thursday night. Lopez stole this Chevrolet Silverado from the home where a family of five was found dead, authorities said.

Lopez crashed the vehicle and then engaged in a shootout with officers, he said.

“He fired multiple rounds at the officers and was armed with an AR-15 and a handgun,” Clark said, adding they believe the firearms were likely stolen from the Centerville home where the family was killed. No agent was injured.

Lopez had been convicted of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He was serving two life sentences for those convictions, according to the department. His escape near Centerville, about 120 miles north of Houston, on May 12 sparked one of the largest search efforts for an escaped inmate in Texas history, according to authorities. Lopez was on the state’s 10 most wanted fugitives list, and authorities offered up to $50,000 for information leading to his capture.

“He has life in prison for capital murder, where he killed a man with a pickaxe and also received an attempted capital murder conviction for firing a gun at a police officer,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst, during a news conference at the time, warning that López is “very dangerous.”

Lopez was affiliated with the gang known as the Mexican Mafia and had ties to the Rio Grande Valley area, including Weslaco and Mercedes, and San Antonio, the state department of public safety said.

The family was visiting their weekend residence when they were killed.

Earlier Thursday, authorities said a family had been found dead in their rural home and that Lopez was the suspect.

“Lopez is obviously a murderer. He doesn’t care about human life,” Clark said.

Authorities did not provide the exact ages or identities of the victims.

Clark said the family was using the Leon County home as a “weekend residence.” Investigators believe the family had no connection to Lopez, who allegedly broke into the home and stole a vehicle that Clark described as a “farm truck.”

The home was within the perimeter that police were searching after Lopez’s escape, which occurred while he was being transported from a facility in Gatesville to another unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment.

Huntsville is about 110 miles north of Houston.

He was being herded into a separate, caged area of ​​the prison bus, but was able to escape his restraints, cut through metal and climb out of the bottom of the cage, authorities previously said.

Lopez attacked the driver and forced the bus to stop, authorities said. The two got out of the vehicle and when a second officer began to approach, Lopez returned to the bus and attempted to drive it, but officers shot at the tires and were able to stop the vehicle, authorities said.

Lopez got out of the bus and ran into the woods off Highway 7 in Leon County, according to authorities.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.