(Video Credit: FOX 4 Dallas-Fort Worth)
Mexican mafia member and convicted killer Gonzalo Lopez murdered a grandfather and his four grandsons in Texas before eventually being taken out in a blaze of gunfire by police.
Mark Collins, 66, was killed along with his four grandsons, Waylon, 18, Carson, 16, and twins Hudson and Bryson, 11, while at their vacation home. The murderer allegedly came across the family in their remote Texas cabin, killed them, and then stole a truck and an AR-15.
Lopez was on the run for 21 days after escaping a prison bus on May 12 by stabbing the driver in the hand. His time on the lam would come to an abrupt end when police took him down in a shootout.
A cellphone video by fourth-grader Braxton Tieperman, taken while in the car with his mother Melanie Tieperman, helped lead to the killer’s demise. In the video, Lopez is seen running into a wooded area.
(Video Credit: The Daily Mail)
Braxton can be heard commenting, “Yo, we saw the inmate! What the heck?”
The mother told KAGS TV, “There was an inmate in a white suit that was out of the bus, jumped the fence he then ran up the hill and into the woods. The Jewett police officer was there and he didn’t try to pursue the inmate.”
Braxton remarked, “Whoever is in that house might want to be careful,” after seeing Lopez head toward a nearby home.
Texas Ranger John T. Vance sent a letter to Braxton to thank the boy for his role in helping officers take Lopez down.
“The state of Texas needs more young citizens who stand in the gap and help us do our job of protecting the citizens of Texas against evil,” Vance told Braxton Tieperman. “After graduating high school, I hope you will consider joining me in protecting the State of Texas.’
At the time of his escape, Lopez was reportedly being transported in a caged section of the prison bus for a medical appointment. Somehow, according to authorities, Lopez freed himself from his restraints and then stabbed the bus driver, hijacking the bus. He crashed the bus into a cow pasture and fled into the woods.
Police were notified by a relative of Collins when he didn’t answer any calls. They then proceeded to the rural cabin near Centerville in Leon County. That was the same area where Lopez had escaped from the prison bus.
Centerville, Texas victims.
Authorities suspect they were murdered by prison escapee Gonzalo Lopez.
Mark Collins, 66
Waylon Collins, 18
Carson Collins, 16
Bryson Collins, 11
Hudson Collins, 11
Photos from Crimestoppers of Houston. pic.twitter.com/cI7IPak1EN
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) June 4, 2022
Collins’ pickup was spotted by authorities in Atascosa County late Thursday evening. That’s approximately 220 miles southwest of the cabin. Police followed the vehicle according to Sheriff David Soward. Spike strips were used to flatten all four tires on the truck to force Lopez to stop.
He kept driving on the flats tires, sticking the rifle out the window and firing a number of shots at police in the process. That was just before he slammed into two telephone poles and a fence according to Soward.
“He exited his truck. He fired additional rounds. At least four officers returned fire at the suspect,” the sheriff stated.
Lopez went down in a hail of gunfire. He had the stolen AR-15 rifle and a pistol in his possession according to Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
“We are very saddened that the murders happened, but I will tell you that we are breathing a sigh of relief that Lopez will not be able to hurt anybody else,” Clark declared.
Neighbors say the Collins family never would have been at their weekend house if they were warned there was evidence that escapee Gonzalo Lopez was still in the area.
One person close to the Collins told me: “This is now a family wiped out.”
Grandpa and 4 grandsons murdered. pic.twitter.com/jdg9SwJszU
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) June 4, 2022
He also announced that “a serious incident review” would take place concerning the escape.
“It’s incumbent upon us to go backwards to figure out how did he escape, how did he beat our security protocols in order to leave that transport vehicle,” Clark asserted.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst described Lopez as “crafty.” He said that Lopez had escaped before and had hid out for nine days before being recaptured, according to CBS News.
The US Marshal’s service stated that Lopez was associated with the Mexican mafia. There was a $50,000 reward being offered for information leading to his arrest.
He had a long rap sheet including a conviction in 1996 for two counts of aggravated assault. In 2006, he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. That earned him a life sentence. A year later, he had another life sentence tacked on for being convicted of attempted capital murder.
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