Texas community holds vigil for family allegedly murdered by escaped inmate

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Community members in Leon County, Texas gathered for a vigil in memory of a grandfather and four boys who were allegedly killed by escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez.

Grandfather, Mark Collins, 66, and four boys, Waylon Collins, 18; Carson Collins, 16; Hudson Collins, 11; and Bryson Collins, 11, were found dead on Thursday, according to FOX 26 Houston.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials said officers received a call from a concerned relative after not hearing from the eldest relative.

The four boys were students from the Tomball Independent School District, which sent a letter to families after the children were identified.

TEXAS GRANDFATHER, 4 BOYS KILLED Amid GONZALO LOPEZ MANHUNT IDENTIFIED

This undated photo provided by the family via Houston Northwest Church shows Mark Collins. Collins was one of the people authorities say was killed by Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer who escaped from prison.
(Family photo/Courtesy of Houston Northwest Church via AP)

“The lives of four Tomball SD students and their grandfather were taken from us Thursday by the escaped Texas fugitive near Centerville,” the letter reads. “The loss of one student, for whatever reason, is heartbreaking, but to lose four in such a tragic way is heartbreaking, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of these students and grand- beloved father.”

On Friday, community members held a vigil at Tomball High School in honor of the five people found dead, according to ABC 6.

Family friend David Crane said the children were “shining, shining stars”, adding the incident was “unspeakable”.

ESCAPED MURDERER GONZALO LOPEZ LOCATED, KILLED AFTER 3-WEEK MANHUNT IN TEXAS

These photos provided by the family via Houston Northwest Church show, from left, Bryson Collins, Carson Collins, Hudson Collins, Waylon Collins and Mark Collins, who authorities say were all killed by Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer who escaped from prison.

These photos provided by the family via Houston Northwest Church show, from left, Bryson Collins, Carson Collins, Hudson Collins, Waylon Collins and Mark Collins, who authorities say were all killed by Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer who escaped from prison.
(Family photo/Courtesy of Houston Northwest Church via AP)

Steve Bezner, a pastor at the family church, said 11-year-old Hudson Collins was just baptized last week, according to the report.

“They’re incredibly active in the community, very well-known here, very well-liked here,” Bezner said. “The outpouring of community support is not just in response to the tragedy, but actually in response to the fact that they are just loved ones.”

“I was honored to sit down with the family last night and again this morning for several hours and the characteristic that continued to stand out was unwavering faith,” Bezner added. “They didn’t understand – why none of us can understand why. But they keep saying that we trust that God is good. And we know that he is with us in the midst of these circumstances.”

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This undated photo provided by the family via Houston Northwest Church shows Bryson Collins.  Bryson was one of the people authorities say was killed by Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer who escaped from prison.  (Family photo/Courtesy of Houston Northwest Church via AP)

This undated photo provided by the family via Houston Northwest Church shows Bryson Collins. Bryson was one of the people authorities say was killed by Gonzalo Lopez, 46, a convicted murderer who escaped from prison. (Family photo/Courtesy of Houston Northwest Church via AP)
(Family photo/Courtesy of Houston Northwest Church via AP)

Lopez was killed in a shootout with police after he was spotted in a stolen van he was supposed to be driving.

Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.

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