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Escaped Texas inmate killed by police in shootout

Officials in Central Texas said Thursday that an escaped inmate serving a life sentence for murder was shot and killed by law enforcement.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office, located about halfway between Dallas and Houston, announced about 10:30 p.m. that Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was “captured & deceased.” On Friday, officials revealed he had been killed in a shootout with authorities.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice wrote on Twitter: “Law enforcement in Atascosa County located the stolen vehicle, disabled it with spike strips, & gunfire ensued. At approximately 22:30, the TDCJ received information that Lopez had been shot by law enforcement in Jourdanton, Texas, South of San Antonio.”

Lopez was added to Texas’s top 10 most wanted list in May after his escape from a prison bus last month. According to the Independent, Lopez “worked for the La Mana drug cartel — based in Tamaulipas, Mexico — in 2015,” and he killed a man named Lupe Ramirez “for a $40,000 drug debt.”

Lopez is believed to have been driving a pickup that was missing from a cabin where authorities found five people dead. Police made the discovery after receiving a call from someone concerned about an elderly relative.

The victims were identified as Mark Collins, 66, and his four grandsons: Waylon Collins, 18, Carson Collins, 16, Hudson Collins, 11, and Bryson Collins, 11.

Tomball ISD, located in Harris County, said in an email to families that four students and their grandfather were killed at the cabin. “We ask that you extend your prayers and support to these families who need us the most at this time,” the school district said in the statement. “We share a special bond in Tomball and understand this will personally affect many students and families in our small community.”

Jason Clark, a TDCJ spokesman, said the home was a weekend cabin for the family. The family was thought to have arrived at the cabin Thursday morning, which they owned, Clark said. They are believed to have been killed that afternoon and had no link to Lopez, he said.

Authorities are unsure if Lopez had been staying in the cabin or if he ambushed them upon their arrival.

Clark said that law enforcement officers in Atacosa County, south of San Antonio, spotted Lopez driving the pickup Thursday. They followed him and spiked his tires, officials said. After a short chase and a crash, Lopez got out of the truck with at least two firearms. He fired several shots at the officers and they returned fire, killing him. No officers were injured.

Lopez was convicted of capital murder in Hidalgo County and sentenced to life in prison in 2006, records show. He was last incarcerated at a prison in Gatesville, about 130 miles west of Leon County.

Lopez escaped from a prison transport bus May 12 after he overpowered the driver. None of the other 15 prisoners on board escaped.

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WORLD.BEMOO.XYZ

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