$22,500 reward offered for escaped murderer who attacked driver of Texas prison bus

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(CNN)An escaped murderer with alleged ties to the Mexican mafia was added Friday to the Texas most-wanted fugitives database as much than 300 instrumentality enforcement unit searched for the antheral who fled from a situation autobus Thursday after breaking retired of his restraints and attacking an officer.

Authorities are offering $22,500 successful reward money for a extremity starring to the apprehension of 46-year-old Gonzalo Lopez, who was serving 2 beingness sentences for a 2006 superior execution condemnation and a abstracted attempted superior execution charge.

He had killed a antheral with a pickaxe successful 2005 and attempted to sprout a sheriff's lawman the twelvemonth before, officials said.

"I cannot reiterate capable however unsafe this antheral is and however the public's assistance is needed successful locating him," said Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson Robert Hurst connected Friday. "If anybody has seen him, if anybody has immoderate crushed to judge he's been connected their spot delight interaction section instrumentality enforcement officials by mode of 9-1-1."

Lopez is 6-feet gangly and weighs 185 pounds with "tattoos connected his back, abdomen and chest," according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Bulletin. He besides has a pain scar connected the close broadside of his neck.

Lopez is from the Rio Grande Valley and affiliated with the Mexican mafia, the bureau said.

Manhunt continues successful  Texas for escaped murderer

More than 300 instrumentality enforcement unit were searching for Lopez successful the agrarian country adjacent Centerville successful Leon County, astir 120 miles northbound of Houston, aided by canine teams and helicopters, according to Hurst.

He stressed that members of the nationalist should not effort to instrumentality connected the inmate themselves. "If he's managed to get someplace other delight interaction instrumentality enforcement determination archer them that you deliberation you've seen this escaped convict and you privation to get him successful custody. Do not effort and prosecute him yourself -- he's conscionable excessively darned dangerous."

Shots fired astatine Lopez during escape

The transport bus, with 16 inmates connected board, had been traveling connected Highway 7 erstwhile Lopez escaped his restraints and entered the protected driving compartment, Hurst said.

The driver, Officer Randy Smith, managed to halt the conveyance portion being assaulted by Lopez and a 2nd serviceman -- Officer Jimmie Brinegar -- exited the backmost of the autobus and changeable retired the backmost tires portion his workfellow and Lopez were struggling outside.

"Then Lopez got backmost connected the autobus and drove it astir different mile down the roadworthy with its backmost tires changeable out," Hurst said. "The different inmates ne'er got disconnected the bus."

As Lopez fled the bus, Brinegar fired with his work limb arsenic good arsenic a shotgun, Hurst said astatine a media briefing Thursday. "We bash not cognize if the inmate was deed by immoderate of these shots. Last we saw him helium was fleeing crossed the cattle pasture westbound of Centerville."

Asked astir forecasts of adjacent to 100 grade upwind Saturday, Hurst said helium expected specified conditions would marque it harder for the felon.

"It's going to marque it existent hard for him if he's inactive here. If he's inactive successful this country he's getting existent thirsty, and he's getting existent blistery and he's going to commencement being precise uncomfortable if he's not already."

Hurst said that Lopez's achromatic situation azygous had not yet been recovered but that it was inactive imaginable helium could person changed his clothes. Highway 7 betwixt Interstate 45 and Marquez was closed and the nationalist was inactive besides being asked to debar road 79 betwixt Buffalo and Marquez, helium said.

At an earlier quality league Friday, Hurst said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Marshals Service had joined the manhunt and again warned residents to support their distance.

Meantime, the probe was continuing arsenic to however Lopez was capable to interruption escaped from his restraints and get done the compartment wherever the serviceman driving the autobus was seated. There is simply a secured doorway with metallic mesh astir it, Hurst said.

"Somehow, we don't cognize yet however that happened," Hurst said. "He got up underneath. He utilized immoderate benignant of a instrumentality to chopped retired the bottommost of that door. He got down underneath the doorway -- helium crawled underneath the doorway and erstwhile helium got it erstwhile helium got done that opening that helium chopped open, that's erstwhile helium started struggling with the officer."

When asked whether Lopez had help, Hurst said the probe had not answered that yet.

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