At about 1:30 pm Thursday afternoon a TDCJ bus was en route from the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, Texas with sixteen TDCJ inmates onboard. One of those inmates Gonzalo Lopez, 46, was on his way for medical reasons. All the inmates were shackled to the bus as it traveled east on Highway 7. A TDC driver in a caged-in area was in the front of the bus who was armed. Another guard was in a caged area at the rear armed with a sidearm and a shotgun. Lopez somehow was able to free himself from the shackles and get into the front driver’s cage. A struggle ensued and Lopez stabbed the guard in the hand. This caused the bus to cross into the westbound lanes of Highway y and run into the ditch. Lopez fled across a pasture. As he did the rearguard fired several shots with his sidearm and shotgun. It is unknown if Lopez was hit. The bus driver was the only one injured and medically cleared at the scene. DPS, Leon County, and Madison County police agencies responded as did over 100-TDC guards and employees. Horses and dogs were deployed. Highway 7 between Marquez and Centerville was closed to all traffic and remains closed. Motorists are also discouraged from using Highway 79 between Highway 7 and Buffalo. About 9 pm Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office arrived with their Mobile Command Center. TDC Officials say the search will not stop as until he is back in custody. With all the guards Dairy Queen and Woody’s stayed extremely business as searchers were seen buying their lunches and dinners.
Lopez is serving a life sentence for a 2005 capital murder in Hidalgo County and a 2004 attempted murder in Webb County. According to court records, Lopez was found guilty in February 2006 of killing Jose Guadalupe Ramirez, 37. On March 23, 2005, police at the time said Ramirez was kidnapped from his home by two men. Lopez then killed Ramirez with a pickaxe. Lopez was identified as one of the suspects by one of the victim’s relatives. After his arrest, Lopez directed police to the location where Ramirez’s body was buried. He also told police he was ordered to kill Lopez by a drug cartel because Ramirez owed them drug money. Lopez was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.