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Manhunt underway for escaped convicted murderer in Texas

Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted murderer who escaped prison custody May 12, 2022. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice/Released)
May 13, 2022

Texas authorities are searching for a convicted murderer who escaped this week after stabbing a prison bus driver in the hand. The attack caused the bus to swerve off the road, allowing the prisoner to get away on foot.

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is searching for an escaped inmate in Leon County. 46 year old Gonzalo Lopez assaulted a correctional officer on a transport bus & then fled from the vehicle,” TDCJ tweeted Thursday.

“TDCJ, OIG, & multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for the inmate near Highway 7 westbound in Leon County approximately 1.5 miles from Interstate 45. If you spot Lopez, immediately contact 911 and do not approach him,” the agency added in a separate tweet.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Lopez was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 after being convicted of capital murder and attempted murder, according to TODAY.

While being transported from a Gatesville prison to a facility in Huntsville, the convict managed to free himself from restraints and broke into the caged area surrounding the bus driver. Lopez then used an unidentified object to stab the driver in the hand.

The vehicle went off the road on Texas State Highway 7 in Leon County. Before fleeing the bus, Lopez seized the driver’s firearm. The weapon was later recovered and no other inmates escaped, the spokesman added.

Officials said the bus driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the attack. The escapee was last seen on foot wearing a white prison uniform.

“He is to be considered armed and dangerous, however we do not believe that he has a weapon in his possession at this time. But he should be considered someone who is very dangerous,” Texas Department of Criminal Justice information officer Robert Hurst told KPRC. “Do not attempt to take this person into custody by yourself. If you see him please contact the nearest law enforcement agency through 911, they will take matters into hand.”

Earlier this year, another manhunt ended in the arrest of the suspect who opened fire on a busy subway train in Brooklyn, New York.

Photos of Frank James, 62, were posted on Facebook at the time showing the suspect in the East Village near St. Marks Place and First Avenue. NYPD quickly responded to the scene and arrested him.

At least 29 people were injured in the incident. According to the NYPD, James has ties in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. He has been arrested in New York nine times and New Jersey three times for offenses that include burglaries, a criminal sex act, trespassing and disorderly conduct.