Pisoners distracted guards to let Gonzalo Lopez escape from jail before murdering family of five
Gonzalo Lopez’s fellow inmates are said to have helped the Texas fugitive escape from a prison bus last month by distracting the guards, allowing them to escape and kill a family of five on the run.
Lopez, who was serving a life sentence with ties to the Mexican mafia, was killed last Thursday in a shootout with law enforcement officers following his escape, during which he stabbed the bus driver and spent the past three weeks on the run outside San Antonio.
While on the run, he allegedly stabbed 66-year-old Mark Collins and his four grandsons to death before stealing their truck.
On May 12, before escaping to a wooded area near Centerville, which lies between Houston and Dallas, Lopez had told 16 other inmates aboard the bus that “this is your chance,” said Senator John Whitmire (TX- 15) KXXV 25 News†
He went on to say that the inmates responded by “causing interference, singing and jumping” on the bus to create a distraction for the guards aboard the bus.
Texas fugitive Gonzalo Lopez escaped from this prison bus with 16 other inmates on May 12 before going on the run for three weeks
A photo of the cage in the bus where the escaped prisoner Gonzalo Lopez was transported. He reportedly used a key he had with him to get out of the restricted area before fellow inmates helped him escape by “causing interference, singing and jumping up and down”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has confirmed that 46-year-old Gonzalo Artemio Lopez (pictured) was shot dead by police three weeks after escaping from a prison bus and killing a family of five.
The 46-year-old fugitive then broke free of his handcuffs and a caged area of the bus with a key he was carrying. Lopez also carried a knife, Whitmire said.
“The same key to both, I understand,” the dean of the Texas Senate, who is also the state’s tallest senator, told News 25. The key has yet to be found, the local news outlet added.
Whitmir also informed that inmates helping Lopez could face charges.
“Lopez was the worst of the worst” and “huge mistakes have been made,” Whitmire told News 25.
After stabbing the bus driver, a second officer at the back of the bus got out and approached Lopez, who got back on the bus and started driving down the road.
The officers fired at Lopez and disabled the bus by firing at the rear tire, the department said. The bus then traveled a short distance before exiting the lane, where Lopez got out and ran into the woods.
Authorities believe Lopez killed Collins and his four grandsons, Waylon Collins, 18, on June 2; Carson Collins, 16; Hudson Collins, 11; and Bryson Collins, 11. Waylon, Carson and Hudson were brothers and Bryson was their cousin.
Mobile video shows the moment inmate Gonzalo Lopez crashed into a prison transfer bus that fled into the woods
Lopez had been the subject of an intense search since his escape. He was shot and killed by officers in Jourdantown, Texas, on June 2.
Lopez (pictured) was serving a life sentence for a 2006 conviction for the murder of a man along the Texas-Mexico border
Investigators say Lopez stole an AR-15-style rifle and handgun from the family ranch near Centerville, as well as a truck he drove about 350 miles to Atascosa County, south of San Antonio, where the shooting happened later. . on the same day of the murders.
During a Sunday service at the family church in Houston, Glen Collins, brother of Mark Collins, told the Associated Press that his faith helped him through this difficult time.
‘Here I find solace and consolation… There is no doubt in this a purpose. … I lost my best friend. He kept me sharp. But there is a purpose,” said Glen Collins.
Since Tuesday, the Texas prison system has temporarily stopped transporting inmates.
“The agency is conducting an internal assessment of serious incidents and also plans to engage an outside firm to conduct an independent assessment to identify factors that may have led to the escape of (Gonzalo) Lopez,” said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in a statement. statement Monday. No timeline was given for how long the internal review would take.
The agency said if it needs to transport a detainee for an emergency medical appointment or for release, it will have more security.
Such additional security measures were in effect when a van carrying an inmate from a hospital to an East Texas jail collided with another vehicle early Tuesday on a highway north of Houston, according to the Prison Service and The AP. Three guards were injured, but are expected to survive. The detainee was in stable condition.
On any given day, authorities are moving about 2,000 inmates for various reasons, said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. According to the agency’s Fiscal Year 2020 Statistical Report, the most recently available report, there were approximately 121,000 individuals in prisons, state prisons and other facilities operated by the Department of Criminal Justice.
“We are reviewing our processes and determining how we can reduce the need to move detainees,” Clark said in an email.
Mark Collins, 66, was murdered with his four grandchildren, allegedly by Lopez
From left to right: Waylon Collins, 18, Carson Collins, 16, and Hudson Collins, 11. They are said to have been murdered by Lopez
Eleven-year-old Bryson Collins was murdered on the family farm along with his siblings and grandfather
Whitmir, who supported the inmates’ transport ban, praised the change in the prison organization’s policy.
“As the investigation continues into exactly what happened to the recent escape and tragic murder of 5 members of the Collins family, we must act quickly to ensure that no other Texan is in danger of losing or being killed. harmed by an escaped convict being transported on Texas roads,” Whitmire said in a written statement.
The committee is likely to hold a hearing sometime this summer to review what happened and prison policy regarding the transportation of prisoners, said Lara Wendler, a spokeswoman for Whitmire.
The state senator has proposed that the Department of Criminal Justice keep violent offenders in prisons closer to medical facilities or allow medical teams to visit the units.
Whitmir also called for additional security during prisoner transports, including tracking another vehicle carrying armed officers.
Lopez, who had killed on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, was initially taken from a Gatesville prison to a Huntsville prison for a medical appointment on May 12.
In March 2005, Jose Guadalupe Ramirez, 37, was kidnapped from his home by two men, including Lopez, who killed the victim with a pickaxe.
Lopez was later arrested and identified after one of the victim’s relatives recognized him, according to Valley Central†
After his arrest, Lopez confessed to the location of Ramirez’s body to police. He also told them that he had been ordered to kill him for a drug cartel to which the victim owed money. He was given a life sentence for his role in the murder.
In 2004, Lopez was involved in an attempted murder of a deputy sheriff who was part of the Webb County Sheriff’s Office.
He was convicted of attempted manslaughter after several hours of deliberation on Wednesday and was given another life sentence, police said. KGNS TV.
Lopez’s 2005 mugshot after the murder of Jose Guadalupe Ramirez. He was ordered by a drug cartel to kill the money owed
Lopez was incarcerated in the Alfred Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for his escape on May 12.