Gonzalo Lopez was an escaped fugitive suspected of murdering a family of five in Leon, Texas.
He was shot and killed by law enforcement while on the run on June 2, 2022.
The victims were named as Mark Collins, 66, and his grandsons, Waylon, Bryson, Carson, and Hudson, all juveniles. Three of the boys were brothers. Read a tribute to the Collins family here.
In May 2022, Lopez was added to the top 10 most wanted list in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Lopez worked for a drug cartel, according to The Independent.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Tracked Down Lopez & Killed Him When Lopez Opened Fire at Them
In a news conference, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Chief of Staff Jason Clark said that Lopez’s vehicle was spotted, and the tires were “spiked.” After a short chase and crash, Lopez exited the vehicle with a firearm and engaged law enforcement officers who engaged back and ultimately killed Lopez.
“He has been captured. He is deceased,” Clark said, adding that Lopez was armed with a rifle and a handgun.
Lopez fired several rounds at officers, but no officers were wounded, Clark said, adding that the shooting occurred in a residential area.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice wrote on Twitter, “Law enforcement in Atascosa County located the stolen vehicle, disabled it with spike strips, & gunfire ensued. At approximately 22:30, the TDCJ received information that Lopez had been shot by law enforcement in Jourdanton, Texas, South of San Antonio.”
2. Lopez Killed a Houston Family of Five at Their Weekend Cabin
According to News4San Antonio, Lopez “killed a family of five” in their weekend cabin and stole their truck.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice reported that it received a call from someone who was concerned about an elderly relative. That led to the discovery of the bodies. The agency wrote on Twitter that the victims were one adult and four minors.
The family was from Houston, according to the television station. They had “no link to Lopez,” the station reported.
A woman who knew the family wrote on Facebook, “Sometimes a news story hits farrrrrr too close to home. Y’all. I can’t even. These are my friends!! 😭😭😭 I am broken!! My heart is shattered for my friends!! My mind can’t comprehend!!
This world needs Jesus!!”
3. Lopez Was Affiliated With the ‘Mexican Mafia’
According to his wanted poster through the Texas Department of Public Safety, Lopez also went by the names Artemio Gonzalo Lopez, Ganzo Lopez, Gonzo Lopez, and Gonzol Lopez.
It says he was affiliated with the Mexican Mafia, saying, “LOPEZ is affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and has ties the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio.”
He was wanted for “aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant, Escape,” and had previous charges of “Capital Murder, Attempted Capital Murder, Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant, Aggravated Assault Causes Serious Bodily Injury, Assault Causes Serious Bodily Injury, Aggravated Kidnapping, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of Marijuana, Failure to Stop and Render Aid, Evading Arrest, Escape while Arrested.”
4. Lopez Had Assaulted a Correctional Officer to Escape From a Prison Bus
According to the wanted poster, “On May 12, 2022, Gonzalo LOPEZ assaulted a correctional officer while on a TDCJ prison bus and escaped from custody near Centerville, Texas.”
In 1996, the poster says, Lopez “was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Assault and received two 8-year sentences. In 2006, Lopez was convicted of Capital Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison. Additionally, he received another life sentence after a conviction for Attempted Capital Murder in 2007. On May 12, 2022, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for Lopez’s arrest for Escape and Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant.”
There was a $50,000 reward for his arrest.
5. Lopez Previously Killed a Man With a Pickaxe
Lopez’s previous crimes were brutal.
According to the Independent, Lopez “worked for the La Mana drug cartel — based in Tamaulipas, Mexico — in 2015,” and he killed a man named Lupe Ramirez “for a $40,000 drug debt.”
Lopez bound the man and dumped him “in a shallow grave” before murdering him with a pick axe, the site reported.
According to KHOU-TV, Lopez also opened fire at a sheriff’s deputy who stopped him while he was on his way to kill another man in Laredo, Texas.