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Community reacts to tragedy in Leon County

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 16:01:20-04

LEON COUNTY, Texas — The community of Centerville is now in mourning. The escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez is suspected to be responsible for the death of five people before fleeing Leon County.

Community members are now experiencing a wave of emotions; relieved of his capture, saddened by the loss of life, and angry at the lack of efficiency in TDCJ search efforts.

Leon County Sheriff's Office held their flags at half-staff Friday as this community feels this loss.

Karen Moore is a resident who lives where the search perimeter was. She says TDCJ should have done better.

“Gonzalo Lopez has been captured and he is deceased,” said Chief of Staff of TDCJ Jason Clark.

As this community lived in fear, these were the only words they wanted to hear.

”It was scary, yeah, I mean you sleep with one eye open; we were sleeping with loaded guns. You heard a little noise, you were awake- you didn’t get no sleep,” said Moore.

But in addition to the news of his capture - a grandfather and his four grandchildren lost their lives in Leon County.

Moore believes this is something that could've been avoided.

”Not searching as you leave a search area searching [for] a vehicle was a bad no-no," said Moore. "There wasn’t much you can say other than we lost five lives that did not need to be lost.”

When I asked what she wished law enforcement would’ve done differently, Moore said she wished they contacted the residents from "day one, and they didn’t until day eight.”

Leon County and Texas DPS are responsible for the ongoing investigation of the murders. But the community of Centerville is saddened by this tragedy.