Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins #830
Served from October 4, 1999 to December 24, 2000
Assignment at time of death: Patrol Division.
On December 24, 2000, at 6:29 p.m., Officer Aubrey Hawkins was dispatched to a suspicious circumstance call at the Oshman's Sporting Goods Store at State Highway 183 and Belt Line Road. Officer Hawkins took the call from a restaurant less than one mile away where he had just finished eating Christmas Eve dinner with his wife, Lori, his son, his mother, and grandmother.
Aubrey arrived before any other units and approached from the north entrance, using the service road. He drove through the parking lot looking at the front of the business then around the south side to the rear of the building. As he made it to the west side loading dock area and entered the driveway, he came under a barrage of gunfire without warning and had no time to take evasive or defensive action. Mortally wounded, Officer Hawkins was pulled from his squad car and run over by the killers.
What had begun as a suspicious circumstance call turned out to be a robbery-in-progress committed by seven dangerous and violent escaped prisoners (known as the Texas 7) from the Texas Department of Corrections Facility in Huntsville, Texas, earlier that month. It was later learned that a lookout to the east of the store had seen his approach and warned the others causing them to abandon the numerous store employees that were huddled together, and bound, inside the store. Officer Hawkins' arrival to the dock area had coincided with the exit, from the building, of the escaped convicts providing them with an overwhelming advantage. Following the murder of Officer Hawkins, international media coverage followed the largest manhunt in Texas history. The manhunt ended in January 2001 in the communities of Woodland Park and Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the suicide of one escapee and the nonviolent capture of the other six after law enforcement located and descended upon them. (View the timeline of events related to the Texas Prison escape.)
The cold-blooded murder of Officer Hawkins on Christmas Eve tore at the very fabric of law, order, and decency. The chaos, sorrow, and heartbreak created in the lives of his loved ones and the community has healed somewhat over time, but the scars of that tragic holiday season and Aubrey's memory will not be forgotten. With these words and feelings that Lori wrote, you can judge for yourself the void the world has due to the loss of Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins:
"He was the kind of father that all the kids in our neighborhood wanted to be around. The love and relationship between Aubrey and Andrew is indescribable. It was a relationship that most parents could only dream of having. The 9-year-old little boy was Aubrey's pride and joy. They were "buddies". It breaks my heart that Aubrey will never get to see Andrew grow up to be the man he always taught him to be. Aubrey was the kind of son who worried about his mom living alone. He always looked out for her and made sure she was safe. He truly loved her from the bottom of his heart. Aubrey was a loving and devoted husband. He was my best friend. He made me laugh when nobody else could. His face would "light up" every time I walked into a room. Never again will I hear him come home and yell throughout the house... "Where's my girl?" Never again will I feel his big arms wrapped around me and his kiss on my forehead."