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Police search for escaped convicts linked to officer's death

Hawkins
Officer Aubry Hawkins  

IRVING, Texas (CNN) -- Texas police said Tuesday that seven escaped Texas convicts wanted in connection with the Christmas Eve shooting death of an Irving, Texas, police officer are still at large, despite reports that one or more of the men had been found in a hotel.

"We had some intelligence information that they were holed up in an Amerisuites hotel," said an officer with the Arlington, Texas, Police Department. "A hotel clerk identified a man as one of the suspects. We looked at them, but it's not the suspects, so they're still at large."

Asked if he knew where the men were, Irving Chief of Police Lowell Cannaday told CNN, "To be perfectly frank, we just simply don't know."

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Aubrey Hawkins, 29, was shot when he and several other police officers responded to a robbery call from a sporting goods store at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Cannaday said.

Cannaday said Hawkins entered the rear of the building and apparently confronted the departing suspects. According to a police report, "multiple shots were fired and the officer (was) struck."

Hawkins, a police officer in Irving since October 1999, died at a nearby hospital.

Hawkins' weapon is also still unaccounted for, according to Irving Police and the FBI.

Law enforcement officials throughout North Texas are on a state of alert. The Irving Police Department is heading the search with assistance from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the FBI, the state Department of Public safety and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The suspects are seven heavily armed fugitives who escaped December 13 from the Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas, about 65 miles southeast of San Antonio, officials said. Two of the men were in prison for murder convictions.

The seven are "extremely dangerous," Cannaday said. "They've already demonstrated that they're willing to kill."

The escapees may have carried out a threat they made when they broke out of prison nearly two weeks ago, police said.

"You haven't heard the last of us yet," read a note the men left when fleeing the prison in Kenedy, said John McAuliffe, inspector general of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Prison officials say the escapees stole a state pickup truck, which was found abandoned at a Kenedy Wal-Mart. Another vehicle, a two-door compact automobile, was reported stolen at that site, officials said.

The seven stole a number of weapons from the prison guard tower, prison officials said, including 14 .357-caliber Magnum pistols with 238 rounds of ammunition, an automatic rifle and a shotgun. Prison officials said they also believe the convicts escaped with cash and credit cards stolen from prison employees.



RELATED STORIES:
Prison escapees accused of killing Texas police officer
December 25, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Irving Police Department
Arlington Police Department
Texas Department of Criminal Justice


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