A convicted murderer is on the run in Leon County, Texas after he allegedly stabbed a prison guard while being bused to a doctor’s appointment and escaped on foot.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, staged Thursday afternoon’s dramatic prison break along Highway 7 near Centerville as he was being transported from Gatesville Correctional Facility to Huntsville, the Texas Department of Justice (TDCJ) said in a warning to the public.
Officials said Lopez managed to free himself from his restraints and attacked correctional officer Randy Smith, who was driving the transport bus.
TDCJ spokesman Robert Hurst said in a news conference that a “physical altercation” broke out between the two men as the officer struggled to stop Lopez from taking his service revolver from him.
“[Lopez] stabbed Officer Smith in the left hand with something of an object. We don’t know what it is. That’s still under investigation,” Hurst said.
The officer managed to stop the occupant from taking his firearm and the bus stalled, after which Lopez stormed out of the vehicle and ran.
Officer Jimmy Brinegar, the second officer on board the bus, opened fire on Lopez as he fled, but the occupant managed to escape and was last seen running across a cow pasture.
It’s not clear if Lopez was hit by any of the bullets.
No other inmates escaped and they were still in their shackles at the end of the ordeal, officials said.
Lopez is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of capital murder and attempted capital murder.
A major manhunt is underway to capture the 46-year-old, with local schools closed for the day on Friday and residents urged to lock their doors and not approach the inmate if they see him.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media update early Friday morning that people living in the area between CR 317 and CR 320 should lock their doors and vehicles.
“If you see something or someone you don’t recognize or seem suspicious, please call 9-1-1, do not approach the subject,” the office said.
Several authorities are working together to track down and arrest the fugitive.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/gonzalo-lopez-stabbing-prison-texas-b2078422.html Convicted murderer on the run in Texas after stabbing a guard and escaping while being transferred to prison