The Texas fugitive who was killed by police in a dramatic shootout on Thursday had an assault-style rifle much like the one used by gunman Salvador Ramos in the school shooting in Uvalde last week.
Gonzalo Artemio Lopez, a convicted murderer who had been on the run since he escaped a prison bus last month after stabbing its driver, was shot by Texas police at about 10:30 p.m. in Jourdanton, some 35 miles south of San Antonio, said Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) spokesperson Jason Clark.
Lopez, 46, was found with a stolen white pickup truck the TDCJ believes he took from a family of five he had allegedly killed earlier in their cabin in Centerville.
He also had an AR-15 and a pistol, Clark told reporters. Authorities believe it’s likely the firearms were stolen from Lopez’ victims.
“Law enforcement in Atascosa County located the stolen vehicle, disabled it with spike strips, and gunfire ensued,” Clark said at a press conference after Lopez was found and shot. No officers were reportedly injured in the shootout.
The bodies of the family—two adults and three minors, according to Clark—were found by police officers on Thursday in the family’s cabin, after someone called concerned about not hearing from an elderly relative.
At the time of the shootout, Lopez was some 200 miles away from the area where he had first escaped that prison bus.
Police did not disclose the identities of the victims, but they think there was no connection between Lopez and the family. They believe the family had just arrived at the cabin, which they owned, for a family weekend.
Lopez, who was serving a life sentence for murdering a man along the Texas-Mexico border in 2006, was a member of a Mexican mafia prison gang, according to Clark. In 2006, Lopez used a pickax to kill his victim. Police did not provide details of how the family was killed by Lopez on Thursday afternoon.
The sentence Lopez was serving was not his only one: The fugitive had eight other convictions since 1994, including attempted capital murder, capital murder, aggravated kidnapping and three counts of aggravated assault, according to information provided by the TDCJ.
Texas police had been searching for Lopez since he escaped on May 12. “I will tell you that we are breathing a sigh of relief that Lopez will not be able to hurt anyone else,” Clark commented on the death of the fugitive.