Authorities have upped their efforts to apprehend Gonzalo Lopez—a 46-year-old convicted killer who escaped from a prison bus earlier.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced there is now a $22,500 reward for a tip the leads Lopez’s arrest: “U.S. Marshals are offering a $10,000 reward and the TDCJ is offering a $5,000 reward and the Texas DPS is offering $7,500 reward for a total of $22,500,” the TDCJ wrote. The reward was previously set at $15,000.
According to ABC News, Lopez’s escape took place Thursday in Leon County, Texas, while he and 15 fellow inmates were aboard a prison bus en route to Huntsville from Gatesville. TDCJ spokesperson Robert Hurst said that around 1:20 p.m. Lopez managed to get out of his constraints and confronted the officer who was driving the bus.
“[Lopez] was able to overpower the driver. There was a struggle … the bus went off the roadway,” Hurst said.
Lopez allegedly used an unknown object to stab the driver during the altercation. The officer was reportedly wounded in the hand and chest, but is expected to survive his injuries.
After the stabbing, another officer in the back of the bus fired shots into the rear wheels of the bus. Lopez was able to drive the vehicle for about one mile before it crashed. Authorities say the man then exited the bus and fled to a nearby field while the other inmates remained in their seats. Lopez has not been seen since.
“We do not know if he has obtained any kind of a weapon,” Hurst said. “Last we saw him he did not appear to have a weapon in his possession, but who knows what he might’ve been able to get.”
Lopez is serving a life sentence for capital murder out and attempted capital murder charges. In 2006, he allegedly abducted and killed a man with a pickaxe to settle a drug debt. About two years earlier, he was allegedly involved in a shooting of a Texas officer.
Authorities say Lopez is 6-feet tall and 185 pounds with a burn scare of the right side of his neck, as well as tattoos on his back, stomach, and chest.
Anyone who has information on Lopez’s whereabouts are asked to call the sheriff’s office at 903-536-2749. They can also contact TDCJ OIG CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171.