Grandfather and four ‘shining star’ grandsons identified as family killed by escaped inmate in their fishing cabin

Prison escapee Gonzalo Lopez murdered five before being shot dead by police

<p>Carson Collins, Hudson Collins and Waylon Collins</p>

Carson Collins, Hudson Collins and Waylon Collins

A 66-year-old grandfather and his four “shining star” grandsons have been identified as the victims allegedly killed by prison escapee Gonzalo Lopez in Texas last week.

Mark Collins was named among the family of five found dead on Thursday in Leon County, while Lopez was himself killed during a shoot-out with police in Jourdanton, Texas.

That took place not far from where the bodies of the Collins family were located at a woodland cabin by police conducting a welfare check.

A family member concerned about the Collins’s whereabouts had alerted authorities earlier on Thursday when police say Lopez turned up at the cabin, near Centerville, and killed the family of five before stealing their vehicle and an AR-15 style rifle.

He was located in the stolen vehicle hours later and stopped in Jourdanton, Atascosa County. The 46-year-old murder convict was then shot fatally by police.

Authorities said Lopez had been on the run since escaping from a prison bus earlier in May while being transported for medical treatment from  Gatesville and Huntsville, Texas. He then vanished into a woodland area between Dallas and Houston, leaving the prison bus driver with an injury.

Houston Crime Stoppers director Andy Kahan called the situation “absolutely one of the most gut-wrenching scenarios that I’ve dealt with and I’ve seen a lot and been through a lot” during a Friday news conference.

The grandsons of Collins were identified during the news conference as Waylon Collins, 18; Carson Collins, 16; Hudson Collins, 11; and Bryson Collins, 11.

Mark Collins was killed by escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez

Carson Collins, Hudson Collins and Waylon Collins

Tributes to the “shining star” four have since been paid by family in comments to multiple news outlets, with Harris County Sheriff’s Detective David Crain telling KTRK the grandsons “were bright, shining stars” and that “What happened to the Collins family is unspeakable.”

Waylon had just graduated from high school, and according to The Washington Post, was on a fishing trip with his brothers Carson and Hudson, and their cousin Bryson who had finished classes for the school year.

“Mark was a very active husband, father and grandfather who loved his grandchildren dearly and loved to spend time with them outdoors,” said family pastor Steve Bezner in an interview with the paper. “The boys were all involved in a variety of community activities – football, baseball, soccer.”

The Tomball Independent School District, which all four of the boys attended, said in a statement on Friday: “The loss of a student, for any reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose four in such a tragic way is excruciating”.

“We share a special bond in Tomball and we understand this will personally affect many students and families in our small community,” the district added.

Reports said Lopez had been serving a life sentence following a 2006 murder conviction, and formerly belonged to a gang, the Mexican Mafia.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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