Leon County (FOX 44) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called Tuesday for the Texas Rangers to investigate how convicted killer Gonazlo Lopez escaped captivity, leaving him able to kill five people in Leon County.
Lopez escaped custody on May 12th, while a prison bus took him from Gatesville to Huntsville for a medical procedure. He managed to elude search teams for 21 days.
TDCJ says Lopez killed Marc Collins and his grandsons on June 2nd, and stole their truck. Later that evening, deputies in Atascosa County spotted Lopez. They got into a shootout and killed him.
Lt. Gov. Patrick says there are several questions he wants Texas Rangers to answer:
- How did the prisoner, who was handcuffed and locked in a secure cage inside the prison bus, remove his handcuffs, escape the cage and attack the driver?
- How did the second guard in the back of the bus not see what was happening?
- Was the prisoner fully searched as protocol required before getting on the bus?
- How was the escapee able to elude hundreds of law enforcement, bloodhounds and air patrols for several weeks?
- Was the community put on high alert after a cabin near the Collins family cabin was broken into a few days prior to their murder?
TDCJ briefly paused its prison transport program after Lopez’s death to look for areas to improve. The program restarted Monday, June 13th with the following changes.
- Three officers will be required on transport buses
- Enhanced search procedures of an inmate before boarding a transport vehicle
- New video surveillance equipment will be installed on transport vehicles
- Inmates determined to be the highest risk will be transported by themselves
- Unit medical capabilities will be enhanced to reduce the need for offsite transport
- An independent security review will be conducted by an outside party
TDCJ is working on a review of Lopez’s escape and the security measures. When those results are released, FOX 44 News will bring it to you.