An escaped assassin with alleged ties to the Mexican mafia was added Friday to the Texas most-wanted fugitives checklist as greater than 300 regulation enforcement personnel looked for the person who fled from a jail bus Thursday after breaking out of his restraints and attacking an officer.
Authorities are providing $22,500 in reward cash for a tip resulting in the apprehension of 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez, who was serving two life sentences for a 2006 capital homicide conviction and a separate tried capital homicide cost.
He had killed a person with a pickaxe in 2005 and tried to shoot a sheriff’s deputy the yr earlier than, officers mentioned.
“I cannot reiterate enough how dangerous this man is and how the public’s help is needed in locating him,” mentioned Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst on Friday. “If anybody has seen him, if anybody has any reason to believe he’s been on their property please contact local law enforcement officials by way of 9-1-1.”
Lopez is 6-feet tall and weighs 185 kilos with “tattoos on his back, abdomen and chest,” in line with the Texas Department of Public Safety Bulletin. He additionally has a burn scar on the proper aspect of his neck.
Lopez is from the Rio Grande Valley and affiliated with the Mexican mafia, the company mentioned.
More than 300 regulation enforcement personnel had been looking for Lopez within the rural space close to Centerville in Leon County, about 120 miles north of Houston, aided by canine groups and helicopters, in line with Hurst.
He careworn that members of the general public mustn’t attempt to tackle the inmate themselves. “If he’s managed to get someplace else please contact law enforcement there tell them that you think you’ve seen this escaped convict and you want to get him in custody. Do not try and engage him yourself – he’s just too darned dangerous.”
The transport bus, with 16 inmates on board, had been touring on Highway 7 when Lopez escaped his restraints and entered the protected driving compartment, Hurst mentioned.
The driver, Officer Randy Smith, managed to cease the automobile whereas being assaulted by Lopez and a second officer – Officer Jimmie Brinegar – exited the again of the bus and shot out the again tires whereas his colleague and Lopez had been struggling outdoors.
“Then Lopez got back on the bus and drove it about another mile down the road with its back tires shot out,” Hurst mentioned. “The other inmates never got off the bus.”
As Lopez fled the bus, Brinegar fired together with his service weapon in addition to a shotgun, Hurst mentioned at a media briefing Thursday. “We do not know if the inmate was hit by any of these shots. Last we saw him he was fleeing across the cow pasture west of Centerville.”
Asked about forecasts of near 100 diploma climate Saturday, Hurst mentioned he anticipated such circumstances would make it tougher for the felon.
“It’s going to make it real difficult for him if he’s still here. If he’s still in this area he’s getting real thirsty, and he’s getting real hot and he’s going to start being very uncomfortable if he’s not already.”
Hurst mentioned that Lopez’s white jail uniform had not but been discovered however that it was nonetheless attainable he may have modified his garments. Highway 7 between Interstate 45 and Marquez was closed and the general public was nonetheless additionally being requested to keep away from freeway 79 between Buffalo and Marquez, he mentioned.
At an earlier information convention Friday, Hurst mentioned the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Marshals Service had joined the manhunt and once more warned residents to maintain their distance.
Meantime, the investigation was persevering with as to how Lopez was in a position to break away from his restraints and get by the compartment the place the officer driving the bus was seated. There is a secured door with steel mesh round it, Hurst mentioned.
“Somehow, we don’t know yet how that happened,” Hurst mentioned. “He got up underneath. He used some type of a device to cut out the bottom of that door. He got down underneath the door – he crawled underneath the door and when he got it when he got through that opening that he cut open, that’s when he started struggling with the officer.”
When requested whether or not Lopez had assist, Hurst mentioned the investigation had not answered that but.