Officers Search Rural Texas for Escaped Murderer

Gonzalo Lopez stabbed bus driver and ran off as shots were fired at him, officials say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2022 12:05 PM CDT
Convicted Murderer Escapes From Bus Into Rural Texas
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was convicted of murder in 2006.   (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

(Newser) – Residents of a rural area in Texas are being advised to lock their doors while authorities search for a convicted murderer who escaped from custody. Gonzalo Lopez slipped out of his restraints while on a bus on Thursday and stabbed the driver's hand with a sharp object, causing him to stop the vehicle transporting 16 prisoners, officials said. Lopez took off running through a cow pasture west of Centerville, while an officer shot at him from the bus, CBS News reports. Officials said the driver's injuries aren't life-threatening; they don't know whether Lopez was hit.

No other prisoners on the bus escaped. More than 300 local, state, and federal officers descended on the area around Centerville, between Houston and Dallas, on Friday to join the manhunt. An airplane was being used, per the Guardian; officials said Lopez could be hiding in a creek bed or patch of brush. The local school district went into lockdown on Thursday and canceled classes on Friday. Visitation was canceled at several state lockups. The reward money posted is up to $22,500, per the AP.

But authorities cautioned civilians not to approach Lopez, 46, if they spot him. He was serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2006 of killing a man with a pickaxe after a drug deal went wrong near the Texas-Mexico border, officials said. He's now also wanted for escape and aggravated assault of a public servant. "I cannot reiterate enough how dangerous this guy is," said Robert Hurst of the state Department of Criminal Justice. (Read more manhunt stories.)

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