The reward for the arrest of a Texas inmate serving life for murder who managed to break free from his shackles, overpower a bus driver, and flee custody has increased to $22,500, according to officials.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was on his way to a medical appointment in Huntsville when he fled in Leon County on Thursday, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst, two officers were aboard the bus: one in the front and one in the back, both equipped with shotguns.
Lopez “was able to wriggle out of his chains and into the bus driver’s compartment,” according to Hurst.
Hurst said Lopez hacked out the bottom of a door that separates convicts from the driver.
“He chopped out the bottom of the door with some kind of gadget, we don’t know what kind of device,” he said.
Lopez “I was able to defeat the driver. A scuffle ensued, and the bus veered off the road “Hurst explained.
Lopez allegedly attempted to take the driver’s service weapon but was unable to do so because it was holstered, according to him.
The cop driving the bus was stabbed in the hand and penetrated in the chest during their battle, Hurst said, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
According to him, the officer in the back of the bus fired two shots into the bus’s rear wheels. Lopez was able to drive the bus for nearly a mile before crashing, according to Hurst. Hurst stated that Lopez then leapt off the bus and ran.
According to Hurst, Lopez was shot as he fled across a cow meadow.
He added the other inmates are still on board.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Lopez is serving a life sentence for a capital murder in Hidalgo County and an attempted capital murder in Webb County. According to Hurst, the murder was perpetrated with a pickaxe.
“We have no idea if he has gotten his hands on any form of weapon,” Hurst said. “He didn’t appear to have a weapon in his possession the last time we saw him, but who knows what he could’ve gotten.”
Hurst praised the two policemen, saying, “performed with great bravery… That was astute thinking on the part of the cop who fired bullets from a shotgun into the bus’s back wheels.”
While the hunt continues, the Centerville School District will be closed on Friday.
About 130 miles south of Dallas is Leon County. Residents in Leon County should lock their doors and cars, according to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Anyone who sees Lopez should phone 911 rather than approaching him.
According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a $15,000 reward had been offered for information leading to his capture. The reward has been boosted to $22,500, according to the department.
Lopez was also added to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List on Friday, citing ties to the Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio, as well as claimed ties to the Mexican Mafia.
Officers anticipate rising temperatures in the area this weekend, which will aid in their search for Lopez.