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A convicted murderer is on the run in Texas after escaping from a prison bus.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, stabbed the vehicle's driver in the hand on Thursday (12 May) before running into surrounding farmland. A manhunt is now underway and officials have warned the public not to approach Lopez if he’s spotted.
The incident occurred in rural Leon County, Texas. Lopez got free of his restraints before attacking the driver - who was sitting in a caged-off area - with an unknown object.
The officer’s injuries are not life-threatening, according to Yahoo News.
During the struggle, Lopez was able to get his hands on the officer’s gun, however he did not use it. Once the vehicle veered off the road, Lopez fled.
He was serving a life sentence after being convicted of capital murder and attempted capital murder.
Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said in a statement: “During the struggle, the bus went off the roadway.
“When it went off of the roadway, that’s when the inmate went out the door and started fleeing across the pasture.”
He added that Lopez was last seen on foot wearing his white prison uniform and that the bus was travelling from a prison in Gatesville, where the escapee was being held.
Hurst also said that the crash site was located on Texas State Highway 7, approximately a mile-and-a-half from Centerville.
There were other inmates onboard, however all remained in their seats and no one else escaped with Lopez.
Aside from the driver, another officer was located towards the rear of the bus and the inmates were being moved for medical appointments.
It’s unclear how Lopez - who made off through farms located halfway between Houston and Dallas - released himself from his restraints.
The department issued a call-out on social media on Thursday, tweeting: “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.”
In a follow-up tweet, the department reiterated its advice not to approach Lopez, adding: “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.”
UNILAD has approached the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for comment.
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