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A convicted murderer serving a life sentence in Texas stabbed a bus driver and escaped on Thursday, sparking a frantic manhunt that continued more than a day later.

The getaway happened as officers bussed Gonzalo Lopez, 46, and other detainees to a rural area between Houston and Dallas around 1:20 p.m. Lopez somehow slipped out of his chains, used an unspecified sharp object to stab the driver in the hand and lunged at the injured officer’s service pistol, Robert Hurst of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice told reporters.

The driver stopped Lopez from taking the gun but couldn’t stop him from jumping off the bus, Hurst said. A second guard aboard the bus fired both a pistol and a shotgun at Lopez, but it was unclear if any of the blasts hit the prisoner, who was last seen on the train to flee through a nearby cow pasture.

Fifteen other prisoners on the bus did not try to flee, Hurst added. Hurst also said the injured guard’s stabbing was not considered life-threatening.

Manhunt underway in Texas after convicted murderer escapes from prison bus |  Texas
An undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice of Gonzalo Lopez. Photography: AP

Lopez remained free Friday afternoon, more than a day later, and authorities were publicly offering $15,000 for information leading to his capture.

According to Hurst. An aircraft crew was assisting in the search efforts.

Lopez was sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison after shooting a sheriff’s office deputy in 2004 and killing a man with a pickaxe after holding him for ransom for a drug deal gone wrong near Texas’ border with Mexico, officials said. . He was recently housed in a correctional facility in Gatesville, more than 100 miles from where the search for Lopez was focused.

“I can’t repeat enough how dangerous this guy is,” Hurst told media gathered near the search perimeter on Friday.

Lopez’s escape drew comparisons between some and a 2019 case also in Texas in which a mixed martial arts fighter accused of killing two people fled an inmate transport van.

Authorities said they finally captured that escapee, Cedric “Spiderman” Marks, nine hours later as he unsuccessfully tried to hide in a trash can.

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