A convicted murderer who escaped from custody after stabbing a prison bus driver and is suspected of slaying a family of five while on the run is dead after a shootout with police, authorities said Thursday.
Gonzalo Lopez was armed with an AR-15 and several pistols that authorities believe he stole from a home in Centerville, Texas, after killing two adults and three children at the residence. Police in Atascosa County, Texas, on Thursday spotted a vehicle believed to have been stolen from the home by Lopez and gave chase, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. Lopez wrecked the vehicle in Jourdanton, Texas, and was killed after he fired at officers, according to authorities. The escaped convict had been on the run since May 12.
“We are very saddened that the murders happened but I will tell you we are breathing a sigh of relief that Lopez will not be able to hurt anyone else,” said Texas Department of Criminal Justice Chief of Staff Jason Clark at a press conference.
Authorities say the firearms Lopez used in the shootout with police were stolen from the home of the murdered victims.
The five victims were found dead on Thursday near the area in Leon County where Lopez, 46, escaped the prison bus, according to local outlet KBTX.
Lopez and 15 other inmates were heading to a medical appointment in Huntsville, Texas, on May 12 when he broke free of his shackles, cut through a metal cage on the bus, and attacked the driver.
The bus driver, who was stabbed multiple times by Lopez, was able to stop the vehicle and get out with Lopez and another guard on the bus. Lopez, however, was able to get back on the bus a drive for a short distance as both the driver and guard fired at the bus’s tires. Lopez fled into the woods after the bus was disabled.
The bus driver’s wounds were non-life-threatening and none of the other inmates on the bus escaped, according to authorities.
Lopez had been serving a life sentence for capital murder. He was convicted in 2006 after killing a man with a pickax.
Authorities have not released the names of the five people Lopez is believed to have killed while on the lam.