Gonzalo Lopez news - latest: Texas school closes as residents fear fugitive may be in town

·3 min read
Texas Prisoner Escape (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Texas Prisoner Escape (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A convicted murderer has managed to escape police custody in Leon County, Texas, and is now on the run after he allegedly stabbed a guard while he was being taken to a medical examination.

A school in nearby Centerville shut down for the day on Friday over fears the fugitive could try hiding out in the town. Residents have been advised to lock their doors and vehicles.

Gonzalo Lopez, 46, escaped on foot and is currently at large.

The escape occurred when a bus carrying him and other inmates along Highway 7 near Centerville. Lopez manages to slip his restraints and then attacked the bus driver, identified by police as correctional officer Randy Smith.

A Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson said a fight broke out on the bus, during which time Lopez reportedly tried to grab the guard’s firearm. Lopez reportedly slashed the driver in the hand with a makeshift blade before the bus crashed and he made his escape.

Police are now on the hunt for the escaped inmate and have asked the public to stay away from him and to call 911 if they spot the man.

15 other inmates were on the prison bus when it crashed

18:30 , Graig Graziosi

Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted murderer, took control of a prison bus and crashed it before escaping into a field.

After slipping his restraints, he stabbed the bus driver in the hand and tried to grab his pistol before crashing the bus.

While the two guards on the bus struggled against Lopez, 15 other inmates were still restrained and seated in the vehicle.

None of the inmates were reported injured during the fight or during the crash. There is no indication that any of the other inmates tried to escape their seats during the incident.

Schools closed over fugitive fears

17:21 , Graig Graziosi

Schools in Centerville were closed Friday as a precaution following the prison escape of convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez.

After Lopez escaped on Thursday, classes were cut short and students were sent home. On Friday, schools remained closed and residents were told to lock their doors and their vehicles.

Residents who may see Lopez are warned by police not to approach him and to call 911 and report his location

Prison guard shot at Lopez as he ran from prison bus

16:50 , Graig Graziosi

Jimmy Brinegar, the second correctional officer on the prison bus carrying Gonzalo Lopez, shot at the inmate several times while he was escaping.

Lopez, a convicted murderer, slipped his restraints and stabbed the bus driver with a knife. The bus crashed and Lopez fled, prompting Mr Brinegar to shoot at him.

It’s unclear if Mr Brinegar hit Lopez.

How did Lopez manage to escape?

16:19 , Graig Graziosi

Gonzalo Lopez, a convicted murderer in Texas, managed to escape prison, but not without violence and crashing a bus.

The inmate is now on the run, prompting a multi-agency manhunt across Texas and beyond its borders.

For more on Lopez’s escape, read Rachel Sharp’s story below:

Convicted killer on the run in Texas after stabbing guard during prison transfer

Lopez was serving a life sentence at the time of his escape

16:07 , Graig Graziosi

Gonzalo Lopez, the convicted murderer who escaped from prison on Friday, was serving a life sentence for killing a man in Hidalgo County and for the attempted murder of another man in Webb County.

Lopez worked for the La Mana drug cartel — based in Tamaulipas, Mexico — in 2015. During that time, he kiled Lupe Ramirez for a $40,000 drug debt.

As is common for many of the Mexican drug cartels, the execution was brutal, with Lopez reportedly binding the man and dumping him in a shallow grave before murdering him with a pick.

Welcome to the liveblog

16:04 , Graig Graziosi

Welcome to The Independent’s liveblog following the prison escape of convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez.

Lopez reportedly stabbed a prison guard with a makeshift blade while he was being transferred on a prison bus. The bus crashed, and he fled on foot. He is still at large.

Stay with The Independent throughout the day for updates on the manhunt for Lopez.

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