A convicted murderer who escaped from a prison bus went on to massacre a family of five in Texas before he was shot dead by law enforcement officials following a dramatic chase, according to authorities.

Fugitive Gonzalo Lopez, 46, killed a family of five, including four young boys and their grandfather while they were on a visit to their family ranch in Centerville, Texas on Thursday.

Lopez had been on the run since May 12 after managing to escape from the bus he was being transported in. The bus was on its way to another prison in Huntsville from a prison in Gatesville when the convict managed to escape.

He reportedly stabbed the driver in the hand and disappeared into the woods after he failed to flee in the bus itself. The police soon launched a manhunt to nab the convict and received a call from someone expressing concerns about an elderly relative.

The officer went to the family's cabin in Centerville where the elderly man and his four grandsons were found dead. Their pick-up truck was also missing from outside their cabin.

Jourdanton police spotted the truck about 220 miles south-west of Centerville. Lopez was killed hours later in a shootout with law enforcement officers following a dramatic chase sequence.

It is not yet clear whether he was already in the ranch house when the family arrived or he broke into the house and killed them later. The authorities have not released any details of the killer's encounter with the family at their cabin in the woods.

According to a report in The Guardian, the man had ties to a Mexican drug cartel and was serving two life sentences for killing a man in 2005 and for shooting a sheriff's deputy in Webb county, Texas, in 2004.

The grieving family has requested privacy from the media. "These precious people who loved and were loved by so many will never be forgotten. The impact on their family and friends cannot be overstated," read a part of the statement.

Crime Scene
Crime scene police line | Representational Image Photo: GETTY IMAGES / SCOTT OLSON GETTY IMAGES/SCOTT OLSON