A convicted assassin who was being transported in a Texas jail bus final Thursday allegedly minimize via steel, attacked an officer and bumped into woods close by.
He has not been seen since – prompting what officers say is among the largest search efforts for an escaped inmate within the state’s historical past.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, has been convicted of capital homicide, tried capital homicide and aggravated kidnapping, in response to the Texas Division of Public Security.
He was added to the state’s 10 Most Wished Fugitives Listing, with authorities providing as much as $50,000 for data that results in his seize.
Right here’s what we learn about Lopez and his escape.
Convicted in Texas of two counts of aggravated assault in 1996, Lopez obtained two eight-year sentences, in response to the state’s public security division. In 2006, he was convicted of capital homicide and aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to life in jail, the division mentioned.
The next 12 months, he was handed a second life sentence for an tried capital homicide conviction, in response to the division.
“He’s acquired a life sentence for a capital homicide, the place he killed a person with a pickaxe and he’s additionally gotten an tried capital homicide conviction for capturing a gun at a police officer,” Texas Division of Felony Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst mentioned at a Friday information convention. “He’s someone who could be very harmful.”
Lopez additionally had a number of different offenses on his report relationship again to at the least 1994, in response to TDCJ information.
He’s affiliated with the Mexican Mafia and has ties to the Rio Grande Valley space – together with Weslaco and Mercedes – and San Antonio, the state’s public security division mentioned.
The inmate escaped final Thursday afternoon, as he was being transported from a facility in Gatesville to a different unit in Huntsville for a medical appointment, authorities mentioned in a Wednesday assertion.
Huntsville is round 70 miles north of Houston.
“As a result of his felony historical past and restrictive housing standing, inmate Lopez was being transported in a separate, caged space of the bus, designated for high-risk inmates,” the assertion mentioned.
However as he was being transported, Lopez broke out of his restraints, minimize via the steel and crawled out of the underside of the cage, the state’s felony justice division mentioned. He then attacked the driving force, forcing the bus to a cease, in response to the division.
In a earlier briefing, Harm mentioned Lopez “stabbed” the officer who was driving with “some kind of object,” and the officer struggled with – however in the end prevented – Lopez from grabbing his service weapon. The opposite inmates have been nonetheless of their restraints, Hurst mentioned.
The motive force and the inmate acquired out of the bus, and a second officer, who was in the back of the car, acquired out and started approaching Lopez, the assertion mentioned. The inmate went again into the bus and tried to drive away however the officers shot on the tires and stopped the car, authorities mentioned.
Lopez left the bus and bumped into the woods off of Freeway 7 in Leon County, in response to authorities.
One of many officers fired on the fleeing inmate however authorities usually are not conscious if Lopez was hit, Hurst beforehand mentioned.
“Final we noticed him he was fleeing throughout the cow pasture west of Centerville,” Hurst mentioned. Centerville is about 50 miles from Huntsville.
On Tuesday, Hurst informed reporters that authorities have been getting nearer to catching Lopez and have been hoping to have him in custody quickly.
“We’ve gotten some data, might convey us slightly bit nearer to closing in on him and hopefully getting him again in our custody,” he mentioned.
Hurst mentioned the search was “very concentrated” and known as it “one of many largest search efforts for an escaped inmate in Texas Division of Felony Justice historical past.”
The FBI and US Marshals are concerned within the search, which incorporates virtually 300 native, state and federal legislation enforcement personnel, Hurst beforehand mentioned.
Authorities are conducting the manhunt on foot with canine patrols, horseback and with the assistance of helicopters, officers mentioned, and urged vacationers to not decide up hitchhikers.
No jail garments have been discovered, so authorities consider Lopez might nonetheless be in them, Hurst mentioned, although it was nonetheless potential he might have modified his garments.
There may be an ongoing investigation into the escape and whether or not the inmate might have had help, he added.
Lopez is about 6 toes tall, 185 kilos and has tattoos on his again, chest and stomach, authorities mentioned.