Weslaco police received intelligence updates from state authorities after inmate escaped prison, chief says
Valley law enforcement officers were preparing to intercept an escaped prisoner had he not been shot and killed last week near San Antonio, according to Weslaco police.
Gonzalo Lopez died in a police shootout near San Antonio last Thursday after being on the run for three weeks.
"He was probably coming back to the Valley," said Weslaco police Chief Joel Rivera. "I don't know what his intent was, but it put me, as the chief of police, and our officers on high alert."
Weslaco police say while Lopez was on the run, police received intelligence updates from state authorities.
Local law enforcement officers were preparing to intercept Lopez on Highway 281 north of Edinburg had he not been stopped near San Antonio.
Lopez was in prison for a 2005 pickaxe murder in Hidalgo County.
"Lopez kidnapped a Weslaco resident and held him for what we believe to be the drug cartels," Rivera said. "He was a career criminal. Here, at the Weslaco Police Department, even as a juvenile we had dealt with Gonzalo Lopez."
Authorities say Lopez killed again last week, murdering a grandfather and his four grandsons inside their weekend home in Centerville. The killings sparked the highway manhunt that ended in Lopez's death.
Since the deadly shootout, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has temporarily suspended inmate transports as the agency reviews its transportation procedures.
If an emergency transport is needed, additional security measures will be implemented, TDCJ said.
The agency said it is also conducting a serious incident review and intends to bring in an outside firm to identify factors that may have led to Lopez's escape.