PoliceOne Staff Report (IRVING, Texas) -- The officer shot and killed on Dec. 24 during the armed robbery of a sporting goods store by seven Texas prison escapees may have shot and injured one of the men, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
Officer Abry Hawkins, who was buried today at 11 a.m., could have shot one or more of the seven escape inmates that state, local and federal agencies are now desperately hunting for.
"The blood found in the vehicle indicates that one or more of the suspects may be injured," Irving Police public information officer David Tull told the Star-Telegram.
Police could only speculate because Aubry's semi-automatic service revolver was not recovered after the shooting.
The seven inmates stole an arsenal of weapons and escaped from the Connally Unit in Kenedy on Dec. 13. They are also suspected in the holdup of a Radio Shack store.
Authorities believe that the seven formed a cohesive unit while in prison and are being lead by George Rivas, who was serving a life sentence for robbing an Oshman's store and a Toys R Us store in El Paso, according to Larry Todd, public information officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
"They are extremely cunning and direction-focused escapees. We don't know what they are going to do next," Todd told PoliceOne.
"They appear to be hell bent on staying free."
Although law enforcement is focusing on capturing the criminals there is also an ongoing investigation into how they escaped, Todd said.
Preliminary results of that investigation have determined that there was no inside assistance to the escape.
"There was no inside employee assistance," said Todd, "We do believe that there was help from the free world." This is the first escape from that prison.
The only additional advice given to local law enforcement jurisdictions should they encounter the group is "Be damn careful," according to Todd.