Manhunt continues in Texas for escaped murderer who got out of restraints on prison bus and allegedly attacked driver

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Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was serving a life sentence for capital homicide and tried capital homicide, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice stated.

The escape occurred Thursday afternoon on Highway 7 close to Centerville, which is about 120 miles north of Houston, division officers stated.

TDCJ spokesperson Robert Hurst advised reporters Friday that Lopez could be very harmful and residents ought to keep indoors.

“He’s got a life sentence for a capital homicide, the place he killed a person with a pickaxe and he is additionally gotten an tried capital homicide conviction for capturing a gun at a police officer,” Hurst stated.

Hurst advised residents to not interact Lopez, who was sporting a white shirt and white pants when he escaped, and to name 911 if he’s noticed. There is a $15,000 reward for data resulting in his seize.

At the third briefing of the day Friday, Hurst stated there have been so sightings of Lopez since his escape.

The FBI and US Marshals are concerned in the search, which incorporates nearly 300 native, state and federal regulation enforcement personnel.

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Inmate got beneath door inside bus

As the transport bus was headed from Gatesville to Huntsville to take inmates to medical appointments, Lopez was in a position to get out of his restraints and attain the driver, Officer Randy Smith, stated Hurst

“They got right into a bodily altercation whereas Officer Smith was driving the bus. He stabbed Officer Smith in the left hand with some type of object,” Hurst stated Thursday throughout a media briefing carried by FinalNews24 affiliate KBTX. “Officer Smith struggled with him making an attempt to maintain him from getting his service revolver — his weapon.”

Hurst stated that Smith prevented the inmate from taking his weapon and the bus got here to a cease.

“The inmate bailed out of the bus, the opposite inmates have been nonetheless in their seats — nonetheless in their restraints,” he stated.

The different officer on the bus, Jimmy Brinegar, fired on the fleeing inmate together with his service weapon in addition to a shotgun, in accordance with Hurst. “We have no idea if the inmate was hit by any of these pictures. Last we noticed him he was fleeing throughout the cow pasture west of Centerville.”

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The officers and the remaining inmates had been evaluated and none had suffered any life-threatening accidents he stated.

Hurst stated Friday investigators are nonetheless making an attempt to determine out how Lopez got out of his restraints and into the compartment up entrance. There is a secured door with steel mesh around it, Hurst stated.

“Somehow, we do not know but how that occurred. He got up beneath. He used some kind of a tool to chop out the underside of that door. He got down beneath the door, he crawled beneath the door … and when he got by way of that opening that he minimize open, that is when he started combating the officer,” Hurst stated.

Lopez was in a position to commandeer the bus however only made it a mile earlier than crashing. The officers shot the rear tires of the bus and Lopez misplaced management, Hurst stated.

When requested whether or not Lopez had assist, Hurst stated the investigation had not answered that but.

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Schools closed

The Centerville faculty district went into “a precautionary lockdown” after the escape.

Elementary college students have been quickly held in their faculty gymnasium and highschool college students in their library earlier than being allowed to go residence, in accordance with statements posted on Facebook.

Both colleges have been closed Friday, the varsity district stated.

FinalNews24’s Michelle Watson, Andy Rose and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

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