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The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has temporarily halted the transportation of inmates following the escape of a violent offender while on a bus to a medical appointment last month, prompting a statewide manhunt that ended with him dead after he allegedly killed five family members.
The agency said it was reviewing its procedures and was bringing in an outside agency to conduct an independent inquiry into the escape of Gonzalo Lopez.
“TDCJ has temporarily suspended the transport of inmates as the agency conducts a comprehensive review of its transportation procedures,” the agency said in a statement to Fox News. “If it becomes necessary to do a transport such as releasing or an emergency medical appointment, additional security measures will be implemented.”
“The agency is conducting an internal Serious Incident Review and also intends to bring in an outside firm to conduct an independent review to identify factors that may have led to the escape of Lopez,” the statement continued.
Lopez, 46, who was convicted of capital murder and associated with the Mexican Mafia prison gang, escaped May 12 after getting out of his restraints while on a bus for high-risk inmates. He stabbed a correction officer before temporarily stealing the bus and fleeing on foot.
A massive manhunt was launched and he was eventually killed in a shootout with authorities last week.
In addition, he is believed to have killed Mark Collins, 66, Waylon Collins, 18; Carson Collins, 16; Hudson Collins, 11, and 11-year-old Bryson Collins near Centerville.
After the murders, Lopez took off in a stolen Chevrolet, which was spotted later that day by police near San Antonio, authorities said. Police pursued, and the confrontation eventually ended in a gunfight, during which Lopez was fatally shot and killed.
Lopez had a violent criminal history.
He was convicted in 1996 of two counts of aggravated assault and received two eight-year sentences. In 2006, he was convicted of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to life in prison. He received a second life sentence after he was convicted for attempted capital murder in 2007.