Texans breathed a sigh of relief Friday after a fugitive suspected of killing five people was killed after escaping from prison where he was serving a life sentence for police murder in a story worthy of a TV series.
Gonzalo Artemio Lopez, 46, astonishingly escaped May 12 from a prison in Leon County, between Dallas and Houston, and has since been the target of a massive manhunt, the largest in the modern history of this southern state. United.
Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said the killings of these five innocents – one adult and four minors – were an “absolute tragedy.”
“But we breathe a sigh of relief because Lopez can no longer harm anyone,” he added during an impromptu press conference.
Lopez, who was sentenced in 2006 to life imprisonment for barbaric ax murder and kidnapping, sparked horror.
Physically, he would have been the perfect Netflix series villain: a shaved head, a square face, a pronounced, tattooed chest as well as biceps and a broad back. In short: a murderer’s profile, made even more dangerous due to his known ties to the Mexican mafia and gangs active in the prison.
The circumstances of his escape illustrate his uncompromising determination.
That day, Lopez was transferred from his prison in Gatesville to another prison in Texas, in Huntsville, to get a medical appointment. The journey will be approximately 260 kilometers, and will take place in a prison bus guarded by armed agents.
His scheme required special observation and he was kept in an iron cage, his legs and hands chained.
The authorities could not explain how he managed to board the ship with a hidden kitchen knife, and then free himself from shackles. In addition, Lopez cut off the metal hinge of his cage, gained access to the driver’s cabin and forced him to stop the bus.
According to the information, a quarrel broke out between the detainee and the driver outside the car. Lopez stabbed the worker in the hand and chest. Another armed agent, positioned in the back of the bus, got off to try to neutralize the detainee.
But Lopez managed to climb back into the driver’s compartment and take the wheel, leaving the two guards behind. They opened fire, causing a puncture of the rear tire of the car, which became difficult to maneuver. Indeed, a kilometer away, Lopez closed the road and left the bus and its passengers, entering the forest.
Dogs, horses and helicopters
From the start, hunting mobilized great resources and every police force available, backed by dogs, horses and helicopters. Location: a mountainous area that includes plains, forests, and rivers.
In portraits worthy of a Western John Ford, dozens of armed agents, in cowboy hats and on horseback, trotted the rugged terrain. But days passed without result. The reward provided for any information leading to Lopez’s arrest was reassessed up to $50,000.
The fugitive was, unsurprisingly, high on the wanted list in Texas, a state whose arrest rate far exceeds that of every democracy on the planet.
Finally, after three fruitless weeks, a concerned person called the police because their family members had not answered their phone calls. At his home, the police found five bodies. Noting the lack of a family car, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, they alerted.
Behind the wheel of this Chevrolet, Lopez saw the end of his career: The truck was reported in Jordanton, south of San Antonio, pursued and finally stopped by a loose fender on the sidewalk.
Lopez, who was carrying an assault rifle and a pistol, opened fire on the police, but got it wrong. They responded by killing him on the spot.
It was “the end of an ordeal,” summed up by Clark, who is tasked with reporting the arrest to the Americans.
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