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Escaped inmate allegedly killed Texas family of five before dying in shootout with police

A convicted killer on the run since he escaped a transport van in Texas last month was fatally shot by police after he allegedly killed a family of five and then fled from their rural cabin in a stolen truck.

The manhunt for Gonzalo Lopez kicked off on May 12, when he stabbed a prison guard driving him from a correctional facility in Gatesville to another in Huntsville for a medical appointment, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. A brief struggle ensued between the pair before the prison bus crashed on Texas State Highway 7, about a mile and a half from Centerville, a rural area between Dallas and Houston.

It took authorities spanning several law enforcement agencies 22 days to locate him. Police said 46-year-old Gonzalez was killed about 10:30 p.m. Thursday in Jourdanton, located 35 miles south of San Antonio.

Hours earlier, authorities named the escapee as the primary suspect in the murders of five family members, including four minors.

Police discovered their bodies inside a cabin outside of Centerville, believed to be used by the victims as a weekend home. They typically reside in Houston and arrived at the residence earlier in the day, police said.

The names of the victims have not been released, but police do not believe they are linked to Lopez in any way.

Lopez, a former member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, was convicted in 2006 of killing a man along the Texas-Mexico border. He was serving a life-sentencing when he made his bold escape last month. According to authorities, the Lopez, seated in the caged section of a prison transport vehicle at the time, managed to wriggle out of his restraints, cut through the expanded metal of the cage and then crawl out from underneath.

From there, he attacked the driver, prompting a brief scuffle. They both eventually exited the bus, and the driver at one point was stabbed in the hand and punctured in the chest.

A second officer at the rear of the bus also exited and approached Lopez, who got back on the vehicle and started driving down the road, the department said.

Both guards opened fire, striking the bus’s rear tire and causing it to crash off the roadway. Lopez managed to flee into the wood and dodge authorities for weeks before he was killed in the shootout Thursday night. Police said he was armed with an AR-15 at the time of his death.

With News Wire Services

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