A convicted murderer is on the run in Leon County, Texas, after he allegedly stabbed a prison guard while being transported by bus to a medical appointment and escaped on foot.
Gonzalo Lopez, 46, staged the dramatic prison break on Thursday afternoon along HIghway 7 near Centerville when he was being transported from the penitentiary in Gatesville to Huntsville, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) said in an alert to the public.
Officials said Lopez managed to get out of his restraints and attacked Correctional Officer Randy Smith who was driving the transport bus.
TDCJ spokesperson Robert Hurst said in a press conference that a “physical atercation” broke out between the two men as the officer struggled to stop Lopez from taking his service revolver from him.
“[Lopez] stabbed Officer Smith in the left hand with some sort of object. We don’t what it is. That is still under investigation,” said Mr Hurst.
The officer managed to prevent the inmate from taking his firearm and the bus came to a halt at which point Lopez bolted from the vehicle and ran.
Officer Jimmy Brinegar, the second officer on board the bus, opened fire on Lopez as he fled but the inmate managed to escape and was last seen running across a cow pasture.
It is not clear if Lopez was struck by any of the bullets.
No other inmates escaped and they were still seated in their restraints at the end of the ordeal, officials said.
Lopez is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of capital murder and attempted capital murder.
A huge manhunt is now underway to catch the 46-year-old, with local schools closed for the day on Friday due to ongoing concerns about the escapee and members of the public have been urged not to approach the inmate if they see him.