Father of 6 killed in South Austin after cartel order; 2 men sentenced

Two men have been sentenced for the murder of a father of six who was apparently killed by the cartel. 

Guillermo Gomez was ambushed in South Austin back in 2019. His family had to relive his death while his killers were on trial.

"I always told him not to trust anybody, and he did. He trusted everybody," Guillermo Gomez’s sister-in-law Amanda Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said it cost her brother-in-law his life.

"It’s traumatic for us still," Rodriguez said.

It’s been almost five years since the father of six, Gomez, was shot and killed.

"They are still hurt. They miss their father. They talk about him a lot. He's no longer here with us, so he misses out on football games, soccer games, volleyball games, basketball games, so it’s been a big loss for us for sure," Rodriguez said.

Guillermo Gomez

It was June 22, 2019. Cell phone video showed Gomez leaving his apartment at around 11:45 p.m. and 36-year-old Francisco Lopez Jr. picked him up. Lopez told police they were going to purchase two ounces of meth, they went to a nearby McDonald’s, and met up with 47-year-old Evan Zanders, then went to the back of the Bainbridge Villas in South Austin. Surveillance video from the complex showed the car entering the complex at around 12:37 a.m. and leaving just six minutes later.

"Just knowing that this is the last place that my brother took his last breath really hurts. In the very, very back is where he was murdered. In the dark, dark, dark place in the back of this apartment complex in the dark area is where he was assassinated," Rodriguez said.

Zanders told detectives it was a set-up, so Lopez could kill Gomez.

"I know he didn’t see this coming," Rodriguez said.

A witness told police Gomez had substantial drug debts and was told by Lopez the cartel ordered the death of Gomez.


"Don't get involved with those types of activities. No matter how bad you're hurting for money, do not get involved," Rodriguez said.

Lopez and Zanders were arrested for first degree murder. In January 2023, Zanders went to trial. He pleaded guilty in exchange for 36 years in prison. In May, Lopez faced a jury.

"It did hurt, reliving everything, seeing everything and hearing the details," Rodriguez said.

A jury convicted Lopez and sentenced him to 28 years in prison.

"Nothing's going to bring, no time is going to bring my brother back, so it doesn't matter if they give him five, ten years, 20 years, 30 years, life," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said she forgives them and feels for their family members, too.

"They could use what they did and how they hurt us as a testimony to other families and bring awareness of the bad things like the drugs and the narcotics that they were doing and selling," Rodriguez said.