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Gonzalo Lopez Dead After Prison Escape and Killing Family of 5

Prisoner Gonzalo Lopez

A convicted murderer who escaped last month from a prisoner bus in Texas was killed in a shootout with officers late Thursday, just hours after he was named the prime suspect in the killing of four children and an adult in a home in Leon County, officials said.

Gonzalo Lopez fled the home in a truck later disabled with a spike strip in the town of Jourdanton, Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a news conference Thursday night.

Lopez crashed the vehicle and then engaged in a firefight with officers, he said.

"He fired several rounds at officers and was armed with an AR-15 and a pistol," Clark said, adding they believe the firearms were likely stolen from the home in Centerville where the family was killed. No officers were injured.

The victims were identified as four students of the Tomball Independent School District and their grandfather, according to a letter sent to the district community by Martha Salazar-Zamora, the superintendent.

Bryson Collins
Bryson Collins, 11, was killed along with his three cousins and grandfather

"The loss of a student, for any reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose four in such a tragic way is excruciating," the letter said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these beloved students and grandfather."

The district has arranged for grief counseling for any student who may need it, the letter added.