TWO deputies FIRED from TDC that were involved in the escape of an inmate,

Par, surely has a reputation that is going to hell as a leader, and Eubank, well, law enforcement all over the State knows him and they don’t like him at all. Ex deputies who have gone to work other places tell other deputies about what is going on here, the mass employee exodus, and to keep going it seems MCSO is hiring people FIRED for being so neglectful they let a murderer escape.


Plus no body cams.

The jailers all know and are just thrilled.


Chronically understaffed Texas prisons set stage for prison bus escape and massacre of family

Investigative reviews by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and independent consultants found the severely short-staffed prison routinely bypassed crucial security checks, leading to a convicted murderer’s escape.




Texas Department of Criminal Justice William G. McConnell Unit at Chase Field in Beeville in 2013.
Texas prisons have long been dangerously understaffed, reaching dire levels during the pandemic. Credit: Jennifer Whitney for The Texas Tribune

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Seven months after Texas saw one of the nation’s deadliest prison escapes, investigations into what went wrong have come back to one factor: The state’s lockups are dangerously short-staffed.

On May 12, convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez was on a prison transport bus in Central Texas when he managed to escape his handcuffs, cut into the driver’s compartment and stab the driver with a makeshift weapon. He stole the officer’s gun, wrestled him outside and hijacked the bus, driving about a mile before crashing and fleeing on foot.

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Lopez evaded capture for weeks, until law enforcement responding to a welfare check at an area cabin on June 2 found Mark Collins and his four grandsons, ages 11 to 18, dead and the family’s truck missing. That night, deputies south of San Antonio spotted the truck and stopped Lopez with spike strips, ultimately killing him in a shootout.

The tragedy drew shock and fury from community members and state officials. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for a Texas Rangers investigation, and the Collinses’ family plans to sue the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for its role in their loved ones’ deaths, an agency spokesperson confirmed Friday.


Authorities fatally shoot convicted murderer who killed family of five while on the lam

JUNE 3, 2022

This week, reports from TDCJ and an independent consulting group found that the escape, extended evasion and massacre of a family in Centerville were preceded by systemic failures among prison officers and their supervisors.

TDCJ found that a dozen officers, two sergeants, a captain, a lieutenant and a major at the Hughes Unit all failed to ensure Lopez was unarmed and properly restrained by haphazardly searching prisoners and their property and skipping safety checks (along with falsifying documents saying such checks and searches had been performed).

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CGL, the consulting group, said staff at the prison “had become complacent, and circumvented security procedures in favor of hastily completing responsibilities in a cursory manner.” The group said the failures seemed routine. Although they did not investigate other facilities, the consultants said it was possible such failures were occurring throughout the state’s 100 prisons.

After the escape, prison spokesperson Amanda Hernandez said Friday, three employees resigned, and 15 others were disciplined. Some were fired, she said; others received probation or suspension.

But the seemingly routine bypassing of crucial security measures at the Hughes Unit was not a failure of only the employees, according to CGL. Short-staffing has long plagued the agency and been exacerbated in recent years.

Over two years, CGL stated, Texas prison officer vacancies grew from about 4,300 to more than 7,600 in April, the month before Lopez’s escape, with Texas’ prisons only about 68% staffed. The Hughes Unit in Gatesville, where Lopez lived, was 57% staffed.

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“These staff shortages required the remaining staff to carry a heavier workload and increased the amount of overtime they were assigned,” CGL wrote. “This contributed to establishing a weakened security environment that better facilitated inmate Lopez’s escape.”

TDCJ has long struggled against dangerous, chronic understaffing, but the number of officers reached critical lows during the pandemic. Since last summer, about 300 prison officers have also been working at two units now being used as state-run jails for Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which largely hold migrants accused only of trespassing on private property. Short-staffing has been blamed for increased assaults on officers and prisoners, as well as malnourishment and even harsher living and working conditions.

TDCJ has recognized its staffing crisis, pushing to increase recruitment and retention by offering sign-on bonuses and, this April, bumping salaries by 15%, similar to actions taken to address the staffing crisis within the state’s juvenile prisons. The number of officers has grown slightly since the raise, according to TDCJ records, with prisons staffed at 71% in October, compared with April’s 68%.

But understaffing is still dire, especially at some large prisons. In October, 20 prisons were less than 50% staffed, according to prison data. And the Hughes Unit has fewer officers than in April, dropping from 57% staffed before the escape to 50%, with 275 open officer positions in a prison for nearly 3,000 men.

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But in addressing understaffing’s burden on the department, Hernandez said Friday that “while short-staffing was a significant contributor, it was not the sole cause.”

Lopez, 46, was serving two life sentences for the death of José Guadalupe Ramirez, whom Lopez said he killed on an order from a Mexican drug cartel, and an attempted murder during a car chase. He’d been in prison since 2006 and had been confirmed as an ex-member of the Mexican Mafia, according to the prison review.

At the time of the escape, Lopez was on a bus with 15 other prisoners and two veteran prison officers, traveling from the Hughes Unit to the Estelle Unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment. He was kept in a section of the bus for high-security inmates, separated by metal caging from the armed driver, while the second officer with a shotgun sat at the rear of the bus behind the less-restricted prisoners.

A third seat up front meant for a third officer was empty because of short-staffing.

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Not properly searched before the ride, Lopez climbed aboard with two makeshift metal weapons and what resembled a handcuff key in his mouth, other prisoners told investigators. Lopez quickly freed himself from his improperly placed restraints and spent about an hour and a half cutting his way through the metal caging to the driver’s compartment.

He slid into the driving compartment, grabbed the officer’s gun and stabbed him, the review said. The officer managed to stop the bus, and in a scuffle, stumbled outside the bus with Lopez fighting over the gun, he told investigators. The second officer, saying he thought the bus had crashed, jumped out the back and realized there was an escape attempt.

With the officer’s gun, Lopez jumped back into the bus and drove off. With the second officer’s shotgun, the driver shot out a tire, causing Lopez to crash about a mile down the road.

Shortly after, the police chief for the nearby town of Jewett approached the now-abandoned officers and, hearing about the escape, took off toward the scene. According to an investigation by The Marshall Project and the Houston Chronicle, the chief did not give chase or shoot after Lopez when he arrived to find the prisoner fleeing from the bus across a field into the brush.

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Quickly after the escape, law enforcement swarmed the area on foot, with dogs and on horseback to search for the escaped murderer. But for weeks, they failed. TDCJ’s review noted its staff misused their search dogs, bringing out multiple units’ dogs and confusing the scents they were tracking.

Law enforcement was at a loss until authorities got a call on May 31 about a burglary nearby and took DNA swabs to check against Lopez. Nobody told locals of the development, however, according to the investigation by the news organizations. Two days later, minutes after learning the DNA matched Lopez, the sheriff’s office got a call from someone worried about the Collinses.

At their rural cabin in Leon County, officers found the bodies of Collins, 66, and his four grandsons: Waylon, 18; Carson, 16; and Bryson and Hudson, both 11. They died of gunshot and stab wounds.

In a statement paired with the release of its investigative findings, TDCJ said it has since reduced transportation of prisoners, relying more on telemedicine for medical appointments. The agency also increased the required number of officers in transport buses from two to three and will arm them with pepper spray as well as guns.

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Supervisors will also be required to verify that proper searches have been completed before transportation, though similar verifications were said to be falsified prior to Lopez’s escape.

The department also upgraded its restraints in hopes of preventing future escapes, since Lopez was easily able to free himself. TDCJ is also having staff undergo new training focused on search procedures, weapons and prisoner transportation.

CGL warned TDCJ, however, of implementing corrective actions aimed at stopping Lopez’s escape that could further exhaust their limited staff.

“Developing corrective actions to the escape that load more work on already overtaxed staff can result in further failures,” the company wrote. “Given the low staff levels correctional officers are often require to perform the policy requirements of multiple positions.”

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“TDCJ must ask ‘Are these policy requirements impossible to achieve given the current staffing crisis,’” the group added. “In certain circumstances we found this to be the case, and it likely contributes to staff taking security shortcuts.”

In response, Hernandez said the agency was reviewing its policies and procedures and auditing job responsibilities to reallocate non-security work to other staff.


Report: TDCJ failures led to inmate’s escape, murders of 5 family members

Photo by: KXXV

Gonzalo Lopez Escape

By: Nick Bradshaw , Trenton Hooker

Posted at 6:36 PM, Dec 08, 2022

and last updated 9:27 AM, Dec 09, 2022

Nearly seven months since cartel killer Gonzalo Lopez fled from a prison bus near Centerville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has finally released its internal investigation, which shows multiple failures led to his deadly escape that took the lives of five family members.

The reports by TDCJ and an independent consulting group sent to 25 News found a “multitude of security lapses that occurred in preparing Lopez for transport.”

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This comes as state officials with TDCJ, Texas Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly gave scant details during the search for Lopez and blocked numerous requests for information by 25 News.

The findings revealed more than 20 staff and supervisors failed to comply with TDCJ policy during the escape and search for the killer.

A small homemade tool kit was found inside Lopez’s boot, raising concerns if guards searched him before transport and why he was allowed to wear his own shoes aboard the prison bus from which he would later flee.


Lopez got on board that bus on the morning of May 17 with everything he needed to escape.

In fact, he was so confident in his plan, he asked other inmates on board if they were “ready to rock and roll” and showed them what looked like a handcuff key and metal shanks, according to witness testimony.


During the return trip from Gatesville to several prison units in Huntsville, the guard behind the wheel of the bus “felt a tug on his handgun holster while driving.”

He looked down to find Lopez coming out of the bus’s restrictive housing unit, which is reserved for the most dangerous offenders, and found him trying to grab his weapon.


The driver slowed the bus down to 30 mph, while the transport traveled on SH7 in Leon County, then engaged the vehicle’s air brake handle.

He brought the bus to a sudden stop, “thrusting inmate Lopez further into the driver’s compartment.”

Lopez and the driver fought for control of the weapons inside the tight vehicle compartment, which led to the corrections officer tumbling out of the bus after striking the door’s release switch.

The convicted killer then came after the guard and stabbed him with a metal shank. Lopez was able to grab the handgun from the officer but had difficulty releasing the holster’s safety latch.

The other guard at the back of the bus got out as soon as the driver slammed on the brakes, thinking they had been in an accident.

Armed with a shotgun, he made his way to the front and saw Lopez and the driver fighting on the ground. The other officer did not fire his weapon nor did he try and stop the inmate.

Instead, after yelling, “for inmate Lopez to get off Officer Smith,” he helped the driver get to his feet, while the prisoner reentered the bus – this time getting behind the wheel.

The other corrections officer fired two shots into the windshield, which missed Lopez, while warning him to stop what he was doing. Instead of complying with the officer, the inmate shifted the bus into gear and drove off.

The wounded driver blew out one of the vehicle’s tires with the shotgun, but Lopez continued rolling down SH7 with a transport full of inmates, minus the two guards.


The TDCJ report said just moments after Lopez took control of the bus full of inmates, the City of Jewett’s police chief arrived on scene, asked the guards what happened – then took off in search of the transport on SH7.

Now it’s unclear what the police chief did next, but the guards say they were left behind and had to run on foot after the bus, eventually getting separate rides from members of the public.

Why both men traveled apart from each other is also unclear, but one of the civilians said the prison bus had crashed farther up the highway.

Both men arrived at the crash site, finding police officers securing the scene – but there was no sign of Lopez.

All of this happened quickly. The report shows only five minutes passed between Lopez first trying to grab the driver’s gun and the last moments law enforcement saw him fleeing into the woods that day.


The manhunt for the convicted cartel killer lasted 21 days but ultimately turned up nothing.

TDCJ said more than 350 of its employees searched for Lopez each of those days on a 24-hour rotating schedule.

Part of that response included several scent dogs assigned to local prisons, using the inmate’s socks in an attempt to catch his trail.

The report found the dogs were no match for the Texas heat, wind conditions and dense brush at the search area.

Law enforcement also mounted on horseback and spread out on foot in a grid pattern but also found nothing.

The report left out any mention of aerial surveillance or heat-sensing technology, like those in the capture of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in 2013.

25 News reached out to TDCJ during the 21-day search for Lopez to ask about these assets, and a spokesperson for the agency said a Texas DPS helicopter was being used in the search but provided no further details.

Two days before Lopez murdered a grandfather and his four grandsons, law enforcement received a burglary report in the area where Lopez escaped.

Investigators lifted fingerprints and DNA samples from the scene for testing.

It took 48 hours for the results to come back positive for Lopez. That same day, police got a call from a concerned family member, saying they had lost touch with a loved one in the area.

Law enforcement found brothers Carson, 16, Hudson, 11, and Waylon Collins, 18, their cousin Bryson, 11, and their grandfather, Mark Collins, 66, murdered inside a Leon County home.


TDCJ’s internal review found that staff at the Hughes Unit in Gatesville had become “complacent, and circumvented security procedures in favor of hastily completing responsibilities in a cursory manner.”

Most striking, the agency found its staff falsified reports in the course of the search for Lopez and the subsequent investigation.

The pandemic also played a significant factor. Due to orders from state leaders, TDCJ prisoner transports were limited to only two guards, not the usual three, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID.

CGL Lopez Report by Nick Bradshaw on Scribd
TDCJ didn’t have cameras on the bus during the transport.

“They have since begun piloting adding video equipment on buses,” said the report.

The rest of the investigation is based on information from interviews with witnesses and staff.

TDCJ says security lapses had become a regular practice at the Gatesville facility. The combination of several inadequate strip searches, search property, poorly applied restraints, and other security shortcuts helped Lopez escape.

The investigation also placed the blame on agency supervisors.

“We found there is no policy identifying when/where facility leadership are to conduct rounds and the frequency of those rounds,” the report said.

COVID-19 played a role in staffing issues and employee shortages in the Hughes Unit, where inmate Lopez was housed, and correctional officer vacancies were high.


In preparation for Lopez’s medical appointment, staff on May 12, 2022, started preparing the inmate charged with capital murder for medical transport. His personal property was inventoried.

TDCJ policy requires inmates to do a strip search before leaving their cell and any property including clothing be searched.

  • 12:48 a.m. On May 12, 2022, a TDCJ employee arrived at Lopez’s cell and issued Lopez two red bags.
  • 1:26 a.m. The cell door was opened Lopez was let out of his cell. This was a violation of TDCJ policy and security practices. Lopez never went through the search.
  • 2:05 a.m. A sergeant opened the pass-through on the cell front and handed Lopez his property bag through without a search.
  • 9:34 a.m. Three Correctional Officers went to prepare staff can be seen talking among themselves and looking away from the cell. The video shows the guards talking to each other and Lopez’s clothing wasn’t searched.
  • At 10:18 a.m., When the transportation crew arrived another search should have been done but it wasn’t and constant observation of Lopez was not maintained.

SIR Lopez by Nick Bradshaw on Scribd

“The fact is that if one of these actions was followed in compliance with existing policy, it is likely that the escape could have been prevented,” the report said.

Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be publi

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