LEON COUNTY, Texas – About 300 officers, on foot and on horses, have hit the ground in Leon County just west of Centerville to search for convicted murderer Gonzalo Lopez who escaped from prison transport last week.
“We are not going to rest until we find him. We are determined to find him,” said the public information officer for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Robert Hurst.
Along with a chopper and K9 units, they’ve been searching a ten-square-foot-mile radius for days for Lopez.
“At this point, there is no indication to think that he is not in this area. We are using every resource available to us to locate him, and again, we will not quit until we find him,” said Hurst.
Lopez escaped a prison transport last Thursday after he managed to get out of his handcuffs and stab a driver in the hand and chest.
After a struggle, Lopez managed to steal the bus. But one of the guard’s quick thinking slowed him down.
“He quickly and smartly shoots out the back tires to make sure that, if for some reason Lopez did get back on the bus, which he did, to make sure those back tires were shot out so that he couldn’t go further down the road,” said Hurst.
He only made it about a mile until he lost control and ended up in a ditch.
As he took off running in a nearby field, two sheriff’s deputies fired several shots, missing him.
“This is a very, very dangerous man. Back in 2004, he shot at a sheriff’s deputy in Webb County after a car chase. And then in 2005, he kidnapped a man and asked for a ransom for his return. When that ransom was not paid, he killed that man with a pickax,” said Hurst.
Hurst could not explain how Lopez was able to get out of his handcuffs or cut through a metal door to the driver’s section.
“Any time there’s a situation like this there’s always going to be a review of what happened, and that’s what’s happening now,” added Hurst.
Officials said Lopez does have ties to the Mexican Mafia.
He is considered extremely dangerous.
On Friday, DPS put Lopez on the state’s Most Wanted list, offering a reward for $7,500. The next day, the state police agency raised the amount to $35,000, with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas prisons investigative branch offering another $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, TDCJ reported.
On Monday, Hurst said the agencies have not yet received any credible tips. The agency has asked anyone with information on Lopez to call 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171.