5 people found murdered in a house near the site where an inmate escaped near Centerville

CENTREVILLE, TX (KBTX) – 8:00 PM UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety told KBTX that five people were found murdered in Leon County, near the area where escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez was last seen in May. A large law enforcement presence is in the area, including a helicopter.

KBTX has learned from multiple sources that multiple area law enforcement agencies have been asked to search for a white 1999 Chevy Silverado pickup truck with possible DPV4520 plates that may be connected to Lopez’s escape. Additional details were not immediately available.

Highway 7 is again closed west of Centerville.

Previous update:

State prison officials said they plan to notify the media Thursday night of the search for escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez.

On social media, several Centerville residents said there had been a sudden increase in law enforcement activity in a rural area west of Centerville, not far from where the escape s is produced. KBTX contacted TDCJ officials for further details, but said nothing could be confirmed or released at this time. A briefing would be provided later in the evening, officials said, but an exact time was not given.

Lopez, 46, escaped from a TDCJ prison bus on Highway 7 west of Centerville on May 12 as they headed to Huntsville for a medical appointment.

“He’s crafty,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst said last month. “He’s done this before in South Texas, in Webb County, he’s been in hiding for almost nine days.”

Earlier this week, authorities investigated a possible sighting of Lopez on Highway 21 in Madison County, but later determined it was not him, although the man who was reported by a concerned citizen fled into a wooded area and was never found.

Lopez, who was serving a life sentence, was being transported to a medical appointment in a caged area of ​​the bus reserved for high-risk inmates.

As Lopez was being transported, he somehow freed himself from his hand and leg restraints, cut the cage’s expanded metal, and crawled out from the bottom, TDCJ said. He then attacked the driver, who stopped the bus and got into an argument with Lopez, the department said. They both ended up getting off the bus.

At one point, the driver was stabbed and injured in the hand and chest, said Jason Clark, the department’s chief of staff. He said the driver’s injuries were not life-threatening.

A second officer in the back of the bus then got out and approached Lopez, who got back on the bus and began rolling down the road, the department said.

Officers shot Lopez and disabled the bus by shooting a rear tire, the department said. The bus then traveled a short distance before leaving the roadway, where Lopez got out and ran through the woods, according to the department.

Sixteen prisoners were on the bus, but no one else escaped, the department said.

A $50,000 reward for Lopez’s capture is still on offer.

Leon County has a population of approximately 16,000 and is approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of the state prison headquarters in Huntsville.

Copyright 2022 KBTX. All rights reserved.

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