Hours earlier, authorities said Lopez was the prime suspect in the killing of five people, including four children, in a home in Leon County.
Lopez fled the home in a truck that was later disabled with a spike strip in the town of Jourdanton, Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a press conference Thursday night.
Lopez crashed the vehicle and then engaged in a firefight with officers, he said.
“He fired several rounds at officers and was armed with an AR-15 and a pistol,” Clark said, adding that they believe the firearms were likely stolen from the home in Centerville where the family was killed. No officers were injured.
“He’s got a life sentence for a capital murder, where he killed a man with a pickaxe and he’s also gotten an attempted capital murder conviction for shooting a gun at a police officer,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst said during a news conference at the time, warning that Lopez is “very dangerous.”
Lopez was affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and had ties to the Rio Grande Valley area — including Weslaco and Mercedes — and San Antonio, the state’s public safety department said.
Family was visiting their weekend residence when they were killed
Earlier on Thursday, officials said a family had been found dead in their rural home and that Lopez was the suspect.
“Lopez is obviously a killer. He has a disregard for human life,” Clark said.
Authorities did not provide exact ages or identities of the victims.
Clark said the family was using the home in Leon County as a “weekend residence.” Investigators believe the family had no connection to Lopez, who allegedly broke into the home and stole a vehicle that Clark described as a “farm truck.”
The home was within the perimeter police were searching following Lopez’s escape, which happened as he was being transported from a facility in Gatesville to another unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment.
Huntsville is around 70 miles north of Houston.
He was being driven in a separate, caged area of the prison bus but he was able to break out of his restraints, cut through the metal and crawl out of the bottom of the cage, officials previously said.
Lopez attacked the driver and forced the bus to a stop, authorities said. The two got out of the vehicle and as a second officer began approaching, Lopez went back into the bus and attempted to drive it away but the officers shot at the tires and were able to stop the vehicle, authorities said.
Lopez left the bus and ran into the woods off Highway 7 in Leon County, according to authorities.
CNN’s Raja Razek and Chuck Johnston contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism