Gonzalo Lopez: Convicted murderer who escaped 3 weeks ago was killed by police hours after he was ID’d as suspect in killing of family of 5
Lopez crashed the vehicle and then engaged in a firefight with officers, he said.
“He fired several rounds at officers and was armed with an AR-15 and a pistol,” Clark said, adding they believe the firearms were likely stolen from the home in Centerville where the family was killed. No officers were injured.
The victims were identified as four students of the Tomball Independent School District and their grandfather, according to a letter sent to the district community by Martha Salazar-Zamora, the superintendent.
“The loss of a student, for any reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose four in such a tragic way is excruciating,” the letter said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these beloved students and grandfather.”
The district has arranged for grief counseling for any student who may need it, the letter added.
Lopez was serving 2 life sentences
“He’s got a life sentence for a capital murder, where he killed a man with a pickax, and he’s also gotten an attempted capital murder conviction for shooting a gun at a police officer,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst said during a news conference at the time, warning Lopez was “very dangerous.”
Lopez was affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and had ties to the Rio Grande Valley area — including Weslaco and Mercedes — and San Antonio, the state’s public safety department said.
Family was visiting weekend home
Earlier on Thursday, officials said a family had been found dead in their rural home and Lopez was the suspect.
“Lopez is obviously a killer. He has a disregard for human life,” Clark said.
Authorities have not provided ages or identities of the victims.
The family was using the home in Leon County as a “weekend residence,” Clark said. Investigators believe the family had no connection to Lopez, who allegedly broke into the home and stole a vehicle Clark described as a “farm truck.”
The home was within the perimeter police were searching following Lopez’s escape, which happened as he was being taken from a facility in Gatesville to another unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment.
Huntsville is around 70 miles north of Houston.
He was being driven in a separate, caged area of the prison bus but broke out of his restraints, cut through the metal and crawled out of the bottom of the cage, officials said.
Lopez attacked the driver and forced the bus to a stop, authorities said. The two got out of the vehicle, and as another officer began approaching, Lopez went back into the bus and tried to drive it away, but the officers shot at the tires and stopped the vehicle, authorities said.
Lopez left the bus and ran into the woods off of Highway 7 in Leon County, according to authorities.
CNN’s Raja Razek, Chuck Johnston, Rebekah Riess and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.