Escaped murderer was headed to Mexico when he was killed in Jourdanton, police say

Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was killed in shootout with officers late Thursday night

JOURDANTON, Texas – Escaped murderer Gonzalo Lopez was most likely heading to the U.S-Mexico border when he was killed during a shootout with law enforcement officers in Jourdanton late Thursday night, Jourdanton Police Chief Eric Kaiser said.

Lopez, who was serving a life sentence in connection with capital murder and attempted capital murder convictions in two other counties, escaped from a prison bus in Centerville May 12. He was on his way to a medical appointment when he was able to overpower prison employees.

Late Thursday night, authorities in Atascosa County received word that Lopez was in a stolen pickup, heading toward that area.

Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward said deputies began watching the highways, then spotted the truck and followed Lopez.

At some point, Jourdanton police deployed a spike strip that flattened the tires on the truck Lopez was driving, Soward said.

“The suspect stuck a rifle out of the window of the truck and fired several shots. He turned on this street, here, which is Cypress,” he said.

Lopez then cut through a field and hit two utility poles and a fence before coming to a stop.

“He exited his truck. He fired additional rounds. At least four officers returned fire,” Soward said.

Lopez was hit by the gunfire and died at the scene.

All of this happened only hours after Lopez allegedly had killed again.

Investigators said he broke into a home in Centerville, where he killed five people, including four children.

He then drove off in the family’s truck, the same pickup he was in at the time of the shootout in Jourdanton, investigators said.

The gun violence happened in the middle of a neighborhood, right behind a housing complex that caters to seniors.

“I was ‘sleep, you know, and then I went to the restroom,” said Fito Balderas, who lives nearby. “Then I saw all the policemen. I said,’ Oh my God. There’s gonna be another, you know, Uvalde.”

Balderas said a relative, who also works in law enforcement, urged him to remain inside his home.

Later he reflected on all the pain that Lopez allegedly inflicted upon others.

“If he died, he killed five innocent people. Right now he is burning in hell,” Balderas said.

Although the final takedown of Lopez involved several agencies from the Atascosa County area, the Texas Rangers have taken over the investigation.

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About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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