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‘Bright, Shining Stars’: Loved Ones Identify the Grandfather and 4 Grandsons Allegedly Murdered by Escaped Inmate in Texas


Friends and family have identified the five people allegedly murdered by an escaped prison inmate. They are grandfather Mark Collins, 66, and his four grandsons. Hudson Collins, 11, Carson Collins, 16, and Waylon Collins, 18, were all brothers. Bryson Collins, 11, was their cousin.

“They were bright, shining stars,” said close family friend Harris County Sheriff’s Detective David Crain, according to KTRK. “What happened to the Collins family is unspeakable.”

Andy Kahan, director of victims services for Crime Stoppers of Houston, read a statement from the family on Friday, according to NBC News.

“These precious people who loved and were loved by so many will never be forgotten,” they said. “The impact on their family and friends cannot be overstated.”

Gonzalo Artemio Lopez, 46, killed Mark Collins and Collins’ grandsons at the family’s ranch in Centerville, Texas, weeks after escaping from a prison transport bus. He had been serving life sentences for a separate capital murder and attempted murder case when he fled. Authorities have said they think he survived in part by entering homes for food, water, and clothes.

After killing the Collins family, a 1999 white Chevrolet Silverado was missing.

Gonzalo Lopez

Gonzalo Artemio Lopez

Authorities in Atascosa County said they spotted the vehicle, trailed him, and took out the tires using spikes. There was a short chase and crash, Chief of Staff Jason Clark of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice told reporters in a press conference.

Lopez, who was armed with an AR-15 and a pistol, fired several rounds at authorities, who shot back and fatally wounded him, Clark said.

“He went down there and struck a telephone pole,” Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward said, according to KFSN. “Bounced off and went down and crashed into a telephone pole and a fence. He exited his truck, fired additional rounds, at least four officers returned fire.”

Lopez broke into the home next door to the family’s ranch and left fingerprints behind, sources told KTRK.

A GoFundMe to support the Collins family raised $286,827 of a $350,000 goal as of Sunday.

“The loss of a student, for any reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose in such a tragic way is excruciating,”  Tomball ISD Superintendent Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora reportedly said. “There are no words. During this difficult time, the Tomball community is continuing to pull together following the tragic loss of four students.”

Clark has said his agency will investigate how the escape happened.

[Image via Texas Department of Criminal Justice]

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