A community in Texas finds itself in mourning after a convicted murdered, who has previous ties with a Mexican gang, murdered an entire family on Thursday before being killed himself in a shootout encounter with the police.

Gonzalo Lopez, a 46-year-old man, was able to escape a prisoner transport bus by getting out of his shackles and stabbing his corrections officer before running away from the authorities. Lopez was on the run for three weeks before he was killed in a shootout with officers in Jourdanton, Texas, according to the New York Post.

However, hours earlier, it is believed that Lopez killed a man and his four grandsons in a ranch near Centerville, Texas, before stealing a rifle and a pistol from the premises and leaving with a truck from the ranch, the Associated Press reported.

“What happened to the Collins family is unspeakable,” Harris County Detective David Crain said.

The victims were 66-year-old Mark Collins and his four grandsons: 18-year-old Waylon Collins, 16-year-old Carson Collins, and 11-year-olds Hudson and Bryson Collins. Steve Bezner, a pastor of the family, said that the Collins family did not know Lopez before the encounter.

Lopez has a long criminal history behind him, including being convicted for murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. He worked as a contract killer for at least two drug cartels and was a well-known member of the prison gang Mexican Mafia.

“This is absolutely one of the most gut wrenching scenarios I’ve dealt with and I’ve seen a lot and been through a lot,” Andy Kahan, the director of victims services for Crime Stoppers Houston, said. “This is the worst that you can possibly imagine. It doesn’t get any worse.”

The community found itself in mourning as it reminisced over the elder Collins’ influence in the local community, as well as the happiness brought about by the four grandsons that the elder Collins had.

“Mark was a very active husband, father and grandfather who loved his grandchildren dearly and loved to spend time with them outdoors,” Bezner said about the elder Collins. “The boys were all involved in a variety of community activities — football, baseball, soccer.”

“The loss of a student, for any reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose four in such a tragic way is excruciating,” School District Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these beloved students and grandfather.”

Convicted Killer Escapes in Texas
Bomb-maker serving life imprisonment escapes. ev/Unsplash.

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