A prisoner has been shot dead by police after he escaped from a prison bus by stabbing the driver, he then killed a family of five, including three children at their home before stealing their truck, authorities in Texas have confirmed.
46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez was on a 100-mile journey from a prison in Gatesville, Texas to another prison in Huntsville where he was due to be attending a medical appointment when he managed to free himself from his restraints. Authorities said that Lopez had cut through the expanded metal cage of the bus and crawled out from the bottom before stabbing the driver and taking control of the vehicle himself.
The driver's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Lopez was a former member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang. It is thought that he arrived at the cabin of a family in Leon County on Thursday before murdering the three children and two adults staying there.
Police attended the property on Texas Route 7, at approximately 6 pm on Thursday after an elderly relative called authorities as they were concerned they could not get hold of them.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Jason Clark, said that when police arrived they found the five bodies.
The family's white pick-up truck was also missing, it was thought to have been stolen by Lopez after he killed them.
Lopez was a convicted murderer who was jailed in 2006 over the death of a man close to the Texas-Mexico border.
Lopez was the subject of a huge police search after he escaped from the prison bus, authorities were offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
Mr Clark said that Lopez was found and "killed by law enforcement in Atascosa County" after he opened fire on officers.
Before he was killed, authorities made a statement saying: "Lopez has a complete disregard for human life and will do whatever it takes to avoid capture. "We will take this investigation wherever it leads us until Lopez is back in custody."