Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Daring Escape of the
Texas 7

Aubrey Hawkins

Officer Aubrey Hawkins (AP)
Officer Aubrey Hawkins

Officer Aubrey Hawkins, a 29-year-old rookie cop who had been with the Irving Police Department for only 14 months, was down the street a few hundred yards at an Olive Garden restaurant enjoying a Christmas Eve dinner with his wife and 9-year-old son when the call about the suspicious activity at Oshman's came in. Hawkins announced to his wife and son that he had to take the call, and he dutifully left the restaurant and took off for Oshman's in his police cruiser.

Hawkins arrived at the same time that another officer arrived, a response time that took about three minutes. Hawkins responded to the rear of the store, and the other officer went to the store's front, and additional officers were en route. George Rivas and the others were exiting the freight door as Hawkins pulled up. The gunfire that followed occurred quickly. Farris, hearing the gunfire and unaware that officers were already on the scene, called the police and began untying the employees.

The barrage of gunfire was deafening, and could easily be heard by the employees inside the store as well as by anyone passing by. Hawkins was shot, literally assassinated in the hail of gunfire, through the windows of his cruiser. According to what store employees would later tell the police, at least 20 to 25 shots had been fired, in rapid succession. Hawkins hadn't stood a chance against the surprise attack, and hadn't even been afforded the opportunity to try and speed away to save his life.

Police car outside Oshman's sport goods store
Police car outside Oshman's sport goods

It all had happened so fast. After disabling Hawkins by shooting him through his car windows, the assailants dragged him out of his car and shot him several more times, in the head and the back. His attackers stole his handgun and, after climbing into their getaway car, Farris's Ford Explorer, ran over Hawkins's head three times.

The next officer to arrive found Hawkins lying on the parking lot near his car, mortally wounded. He called for medical assistance as a SWAT team raced toward the store, but it was too late for the fallen officer. Hawkins died at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas shortly after his arrival.

The Oshman's employees were soon transported to the Irving Police Department, where each of them provided a statement. They also were shown photographs of possible suspects, including photos of the Texas 7, to see if they could identify any of the thieves. Several of the Texas 7 inmates were identified, but the police would not publicly announce which ones. Although the police had earlier been led to believe that only three suspects had been involved in the robbery and subsequent murder of Officer Hawkins, after interviewing the store employees all night they felt that all seven of the escapees were involved.

Even though the police initially released few details about the robbery and shooting, they did tell reporters that Farris's Ford Explorer used as the getaway vehicle had been found about a half-mile from the store. The fact that they ditched the vehicle so close to the store was an indication that they either had another car waiting nearby, or someone, possibly one or more of the Texas 7 themselves, had followed those in the getaway car from the store to the location where it was abandoned.

Among the many things that bothered the investigators was how these thugs had so mercilessly gunned down Officer Aubrey Hawkins before Hawkins had a chance to even get out of his car, and then had cold-bloodedly ran over his head and body three times before fleeing. The robbery and murder was a clear indication of how far they would go to remain free. But the fact that they had now murdered a cop would show just how far the authorities would go to catch them.

Nobody kills a cop and gets away with it for long. Nobody.