Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Daring Escape of the
Texas 7

Leads

Meanwhile, it was revealed that blood from three different people, including officer Hawkins, was found in the abandoned Ford Explorer used as the getaway car in the Oshman's robbery. It was believed that Hawkins's blood was transferred to the getaway car by one of the escapees who pulled Hawkins, wounded and bleeding, out of his own car, and had gotten Hawkins's blood on himself in his haste. The investigators were not saying much about the evidence, however, as part of a strategy being implemented by the FBI and the other agencies involved in stopping the flow of information to the press.

However, according to Jayne Hawkins, the slain officer's mother, the police had indicated to her that one or more of the Texas 7 might have been seriously injured by their own crossfire during their ambush on her son. Because of different trajectories of 11 bullets that hit her son, Mrs. Hawkins indicated that this suggested to the police that more than one of the inmates had fired at him. According to the autopsy report, officer Hawkins was shot six times in the head, once in the back, and four times in his left arm. The bulletproof vest he was wearing had protected his chest from two other shots.

The information about Officer Hawkins' slaying, it seems, apparently was also being withheld from officers involved peripherally in the investigation who complained that they had been unable to obtain details regarding the Oshman's crime scene. Their argument was that it might be helpful to publicize information such as the amount of blood found at the crime scene and whether the amount was typical of a gunshot wound or some other type of wound, such as a cut from a broken piece of glass. Health care workers, for example, if alerted to how much blood the escapees might have lost, could be better informed while on the lookout for a wounded person seeking treatment.

The reason for the clampdown on the release of information, according to Glen Castlebury, spokesman for the TDCJ, is a general fear among law enforcement personnel that the escapees might be learning too much from news reports about what the authorities are doing to find them. Another reason for the clampdown on information is that the FBI and the Irving Police Department had asserted that reporters had revealed information that could have placed police officers in danger. Even though Castlebury would not elaborate, he said that there was one instance in which it was believed that reporters might have inadvertently foiled an opportunity to capture the escapees.

Meanwhile, only days after officer Hawkins was killed, federal weapons charges were filed against the Texas 7 by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, widening the federal role in the hunt for the escapees. Broadening the government's role in the track down even more, the FBI indicated that it was preparing to file separate unlawful flight to avoid prosecution charges against the seven. All of the charges were in addition to the murder charges filed against them for killing Hawkins. Federal officials believe that the inmates were still together as a group.

Funeral of Aubrey Hawkins (AP)
Funeral of Aubrey Hawkins (AP)

As officer Aubrey Hawkins was being laid to rest, it was announced that a $100,000 reward had been offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the Texas 7. The reward was made possible by a combination of community effort of citizens and businesses in and around Irving, the Irving Police Department, and the federal government. The reward was made in light of the fact that authorities now believed more than ever that the Texas 7 were receiving aid such as food, shelter, and other types of assistance by a person or persons outside their group, and it was hoped that the reward would motivate someone with information, perhaps even the person or persons providing the assistance or someone close to them, to come forward. However, there were no immediate takers, and according to TDCJ spokesman Larry Todd, the situation remained "status quo." No one had a clue to the inmates' whereabouts, and it seemed like the chances of a peaceful resolution to the situation had become even further removed. Before it was all over the reward would climb to $500,000.

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