On this date in 2000, seven inmates escaped from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum security prison near Kenedy, TX. The inmates, who came to be known as the Texas Seven, overpowered corrections officers and civilian employees in the prison maintenance shop. They stole clothes, guns and a vehicle that they used to make their getaway.
After switching cars, the gang went to Pearland, TX, where they robbed a Radio Shack on December 14th. Five days later, they robbed a sporting goods store in Irving, TX. Their haul included cash, guns and ammunition. Before making their getaway, the gang was confronted by Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins. Hawkins was ambushed by the gang, who shot him eleven times, then ran him over as they fled the scene of the crime. Hawkins later died of his injuries.
The gang made their way to Colorado, where they purchased a motor home and set up house at a trailer park in Woodland, CO. On January 21, 2001, the owner of the trailer park, tipped off by a friend who saw the group profiled on America’s Most Wanted, called police and reported the whereabouts of the fugitives.
A police SWAT team was deployed to the park. Officers cornered five of the men. Four of them eventually surrendered after a brief standoff. The fifth committed suicide rather than going back to prison.
Two days later, police tracked the two remaining fugitives to a hotel in Colorado Springs. After a short standoff, during which the escaped convicts gave a telephone interview to the news media, the men surrendered.
All six of the surviving escapees were tried and convicted of capital murder. Two of them have been executed. The remaining four are currently on death row at the Polunsky Unit prison in West Livingston, TX.
Wikipedia – Texas Seven
Crime Library – The Daring Escape of the Texas 7
Irving Police – Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins #830