A Texas inmate who escaped from a prison bus last month died in a shootout with law enforcement officers Thursday night after he is suspected of killing an adult and four minors at their weekend home. Last month, Gonzalo Artemio Lopez, 46, who was serving a life sentence for a 2005 capital murder and a 2004 attempted capital murder, escaped from custody between Dallas and Houston, the Washington Post reports. As Lopez was being transported to a medical appointment on May 12, he broke out of restraints, stabbed the bus driver and drove off with the bus. He escaped after crashing in a cow pasture. Law enforcement officials searched the area to no avail. On Thursday, authorities discovered the bodies of an adult and four minors at a nearby residence. A white 1999 Chevy Silverado was missing from the residence, and officials believe Lopez had killed the residents and fled the area in the truck.
Hours after the discovery, police spotted Lopez in the truck about 260 miles away in Atascosa County, south of San Antonio. After a chase, Lopez crashed, exited the truck and shot at the officers. He was killed when officers returned fire. Lopez was armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun. The shooting victims were from the Houston area and had just arrived at the residence. There is no indication that Lopez and the victims knew each other. It was unclear whether Lopez was already at the home where he allegedly killed the five victims or was “casing the structure and just waiting for someone to come in" said a law enforcement spokesman. In 2006, Lopez was convicted of capital murder after kidnapping a man over a drug debt and killing him with a pickax. He had been convicted of attempted capital murder for firing gunshots at a sheriff’s deputy in 2004. Lopez was serving a life sentence and was not eligible for parole until April 2045.