Escaped Texas inmate spent three weeks on the run earlier than killing household, deadly shootout: A abstract and timeline

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Earlier than he was killed in a shootout with Texas police Thursday evening, escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez had managed to elude authorities for 3 weeks, dodging their makes an attempt to seek out him in a rural a part of the state till he occurred upon a household on trip. Lopez, a 46-year-old who was serving life in jail for convictions of capital homicide and tried capital homicide, crossed paths with the household of 5 earlier within the day. He killed all of them and continued to flee, earlier than being intercepted and fatally shot by police in Atascosa County. Because the lethal encounter concluded Texas’ largest concentrated manhunt in almost 20 years, an investigation is underway into how Lopez escaped, the place he went these first weeks on the run, and what led to the killing of a household that authorities mentioned had no connection to him.A baffling escapeOn Might 12, Lopez and a number of other different inmates had been being transported on a bus from a jail in Gatesville to Huntsville, in central Texas. Lopez, who was being pushed to a medical appointment, had been positioned in a separate caged space due to safety issues, the Texas Division of Legal Justice has mentioned.Regardless of an officer being stationed behind the bus, authorities mentioned Lopez someway freed himself from his shackles, minimize by way of steel and crawled beneath the cage into the motive force’s compartment earlier than he stabbed the motive force within the hand. The bus swerved off the highway, ultimately stopping. Lopez and the motive force ended up exterior the bus and bought right into a bodily battle. For a couple of moments, Lopez bought a maintain of the motive force’s handgun, however he didn’t hearth the weapon, which has been recovered, authorities mentioned. Inside minutes, Lopez made his method again to the bus and began driving away earlier than one of many officers stationed within the again shot the rear tire inflicting the bus to veer off the freeway, officers mentioned. Gonzalo Lopez made his method again on the bus and began driving away earlier than one of many officers stationed behind the bus shot the rear tire inflicting the bus to veer off the freeway, officers mentioned. KPRCThe rural farms and ranches about midway between Houston and Dallas proved an ideal hideaway for Lopez as he jumped off the bus and fled on foot “throughout the pasture,” Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Legal Justice Division, mentioned. The opposite inmates remained restrained on the bus.His escape led legislation enforcement to lock down the close by Centerville Impartial Faculty District. The varsity district canceled lessons the following day and requested college students and households to “shelter in place” because of the “ongoing scenario.” “We don’t know what he used” to chop by way of the steel space, Hurst mentioned, every week after Lopez’s escape, including that it was additionally unclear at the moment what Lopez had used to stab the motive force’s hand. A harmful man Lopez had a historical past of felony exercise stretching again nearly twenty years.He was convicted in 2006 of kidnapping a person and killing him with a pickaxe in Hidalgo County in 2005, based on courtroom paperwork, against the law for which he was sentenced to life in jail. Gonzalo Lopez.Texas Division of Legal JusticeLopez, who authorities have mentioned had a historical past with U.S. and Mexican gangs, was convicted of murdering the person on an order from a Mexican drug cartel after a ransom was not paid, based on courtroom information. In 2007, Lopez was convicted of tried capital homicide in a 2004 incident in Webb County, which borders Mexico. Lopez and one other man evaded a visitors cease by police and commenced capturing at sheriff’s deputies throughout a chase, based on courtroom paperwork. Lopez escaped on foot whereas the opposite man was apprehended by Border Patrol, information present.He would later testify that, following his escape in Webb County, he was helped to Rio Grande Metropolis after which moved to Mexico by the Mexican Mafia, courtroom information present. In that assertion he additionally gave particulars concerning the homicide in Hidalgo County, based on the information.A multi-agency manhuntAfter his escape on Might 12, Lopez stayed on the run for 3 weeks as authorities ramped up efforts to apprehend him. They upgraded the search to an “expanded part” after he hadn’t been discovered for 9 days. Authorities seek for Gonzalo Lopez on Might 13, 2022.KPRCSeveral native and federal legislation enforcement companies, together with the U.S. Marshals, FBI and the Texas Division of Public Security, ultimately joined the hunt which spanned a number of counties. Greater than 300 legislation enforcement officers had been assigned to the case, with authorities providing a $50,000 reward for suggestions that will result in his whereabouts. “He’s hoping we’re gonna surrender. We’re not gonna surrender. We’re gonna keep after him till we get him,” Hurst mentioned throughout the manhunt. A household on vacationAs state legislation enforcement was making ready to enter the fourth week of its search, on Thursday a household of 5 was arising 100 miles north from the Houston space to a trip dwelling in Leon County, authorities mentioned. Officers had been dispatched to the house after legislation enforcement companies obtained a name from a person who had turn into involved after not listening to from an aged relative, mentioned Jason Clark, chief of workers for the Texas Division of Legal Justice.They found the our bodies of 1 grownup and 4 kids inside.It’s unclear why Lopez went to the house, however authorities mentioned he had no connection to the household. Whereas authorities haven’t recognized the victims, the Tomball Impartial Faculty District in Tomball, Texas, about 30 miles north of Houston, launched an announcement Friday saying that “the lives of 4 Tomball college students and their grandfather was taken from us Thursday by the escaped Texas fugitive close to Centerville.”  The assertion didn’t establish the household by title.  The holiday dwelling was contained in the perimeter the place legislation enforcement had been looking for Lopez and was checked and cleared “a number of instances,” Clark mentioned.After killing the household, authorities mentioned, Lopez took off with their truck, a white Chevrolet Silverado, to proceed his escape. The stolen truck was noticed 250 miles away by police in Jourdanton, 10 miles south of San Antonio, late Thursday evening, Clark mentioned. Officers pursued the truck for a short time earlier than stopping it utilizing spike strips, Clark mentioned. Lopez stepped out of the truck and shot at officers, who returned hearth, killing him, Clark mentioned. The officers weren’t injured. The escapee  was discovered armed with an AR-15 and a pistol, Clark mentioned, although it was not instantly clear the place the firearms got here from and which was used within the shootout.“It is a tragedy that you just had 5 people who misplaced their lives,” Clark mentioned Thursday. “I’m grateful that tonight Gonzalo Lopez is unable to hurt anybody else.”

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