SAN ANTONIO — The Atascosa County law enforcement officers who brought an end to a state-wide crime spree have received recognition for their work.
Sheriff David Soward accepted the “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” award this week on behalf of his team. The Sheriff’s Association of Texas presented the honor at their conference in Fort Worth.
The Atascosa County team was recognized for finding escaped Texas inmate Gonzalo Lopez, who had been on the run for three weeks and was accused of killing a family of five in east Texas before making his way to the local area on June 2.
A team of officers from a number of local agencies worked together to spike the stolen truck Lopez was driving as he entered Jourdanton.
When Lopez crashed and emerged from the truck shooting at deputies with an assault-style rifle, deputies fired back, killing him.
“Everybody was pleased that no officer got hurt, no civilians got hurt, nobody else was killed except the suspect and frankly we just didn’t really care about him. He had a gun and he was trying to kill us,” Sheriff Soward said in a July interview with KENS 5. “It’s a good feeling when everything goes right and it pretty much went right that night and everybody went home except the bad guy - so I’m grateful.”
The Leon County Sheriff was also recognized for leading the manhunt that started when Lopez escaped from a prison bus.
See more of Sheriff Soward's interview with KENS 5 where he reflects on that night and law enforcement's role in the community.