TEXAS, USA — Escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez had a discipline record that went back six years, according to records KHOU 11 just received from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice after requesting them nearly four months ago.
Lopez is dead after a shootout with police, but that's not before he killed five family members in Centerville while he was on the run from escaping a prison transport bus.
In 2019, TDCJ documented in Lopez's file an assault on another inmate with a sharpened piece of metal.
In 2018, he was disciplined for having a cell phone and a charger.
Twice in 2016, he was in trouble, once for having a razor blade and once for injuring another inmate during a fight.
“It was kind of like a recipe for disaster," said Professor Mitchel Roth, at Sam Houston State University.
Roth studies the prison system.
“It’s one thing to do it one time, but to be written up so many times and then have the advantage of being able to go to a doctor in another part of the state – you know, so many red flags there," Roth said.
After learning Lopez got out of his shackles on the bus, cut through a metal barrier and stabbed the driver, KHOU 11 requested the standard operating procedures for inmate transports.
Though heavily redacted, the documents do outline a procedure for logging the location of the keys and transporting high-profile inmates. However, it’s unclear if those procedures were followed.
“I think it was a clarion call for change," said Roth. "For making sure prisoners are checked better, that maximum security prisoners aren't transported from one place to another, that there should be doctors on the sites of the institutions they are in, all these little things.”
TDCJ has made changes. They are now transporting high-profile inmates by themselves and they’ve enhanced search procedures.
The Texas Rangers are doing their own investigation. TDCJ has promised to make the results public once complete.