CENTERVILLE, Texas — The manhunt for escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez is over after authorities shot and killed him in Atascosa County, sources say.
This comes shortly after the Department of Public Safety announced that five people from the Houston area were found dead at a home in Leon County near the area where Lopez was last seen three weeks ago.
Two adults and three children were found dead by police at their getaway home after a relative became concerned about not hearing from them, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
Officials believe over the last three weeks Lopez has hidden in the woods and managed to go into residential homes for water, food, and changes of clothes.
Investigators say he stole the family’s farm truck, a 1999 white Chevrolet Silverado with damage on the driver’s side, with a license plate DPV4520.
Authorities found Lopez in the stolen truck which led to a short chase in Atascosa County. Law enforcement stopped the truck by throwing spikes, which then led to a foot chase, sources tell ABC13.
Lopez was then shot and killed by authorities. No officers were injured.
Officials believe Lopez to be connected to these murders. Lopez is among Texas’ top 10 most wanted fugitives, according to DPS.
This comes three days after the Texas Department of Criminal Justice released new photos of the escaped inmate, Gonzalo Lopez.
The 46-year-old escaped from a prison bus on May 12 near Centerville. He hasn’t been seen since.
In 1996, Lopez was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and received two eight-year sentences. In 2006, he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in Hidalgo County and was sentenced to life in prison, according to the TDCJ.
Additionally, he received a second life sentence after he was convicted of attempted capital murder in Webb County in 2007.
Officials say Lopez is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and has ties to the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture: The Texas Department of Public Safety is offering $35,000, U.S. Marshals are offering $10,000 and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is offering $5,000.
The new photos show tattoos across Lopez’s chest, back and arms.
The word “Gonzo” is tattooed across his abdomen, while his back says “Mexican” across the top, according to officials.
Officials say Lopez was being transported from the Hughes Unit in Gatesville to the Estelle Unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment when he escaped.
The TDCJ said due to his criminal history and restrictive housing status, Lopez was being transported in a separate, caged area of the bus, designed for high-risk inmates.
During the transport, Lopez reportedly got out of his restraints, cut through the expanded metal and crawled out of the bottom of the cage.
That’s when law enforcement officials say he attacked the bus driver.
The officer reportedly stopped the bus and engaged in an altercation with Lopez. The two of them eventually exited the bus.
Officials said a second officer exited the rear door of the bus and tried to approach Lopez.
However, Lopez reportedly reentered the bus and began driving away.
The two officers fired shots at the inmate, which ultimately disabled the bus when a bullet struck a rear tire.
The bus then traveled a short distance and left the roadway before Lopez got out and ran into the woods off Highway 7 in Leon County, officials said.
Leon County is roughly 116 miles north of Houston.
Lopez is 6 feet tall, 185 pounds and heavily tattooed, and was last seen wearing white clothing.
Anyone with information on his location should call TDCJ OIG Crime Stoppers at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171. Officials consider Lopez to be armed and extremely dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend this fugitive.
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