Gonzalo Lopez
(Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice)

Authorities are now offering a $22,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of an escaped inmate in Leon County who they say assaulted a correctional officer on a transport bus and fled.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) says 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez was able to get out of his restraints while the bus was traveling east on Highway 7, west of Centerville, just after 1:15 p.m. Thursday.

According to the TDCJ, Lopez got into a physical altercation with the driver of the bus and stabbed him in the hand with an unknown object.  During their struggle, Lopez attempted but failed to grab the driver’s service revolver, but was able to flee the bus after it wrecked out.

The other officer on the bus fired at Lopez, but the TDCJ said it is not known if any of the shots hit him.  The driver’s injuries were non-life threatening, and no one else was injured.  All other inmates on the bus remained in their restraints.

Lopez is serving a life sentence for capital murder out of Hidalgo County and attempted capital murder out of Webb County.  The bus was on the way from Gatesville to Huntsville, where Lopez had a medical appointment.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says Lopez is wearing TDCJ-issued white clothing.

Multiple agencies are searching the area north of Highway 7, in the area between County Road 317 and County Road 320.  Residents who live in the area are asked to shelter in place and report any suspicious activity.

Leon ISD and Centerville ISD are not hosting classes today (Friday) as investigators continue their search.

Anyone with information can contact TDCJ OIG Crime Stoppers at 1-800-832-8477 or 936-437-5171, or their local law enforcement agency.  Tips can also be left on the TDCJ website, www.p3tips.com.

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