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Wanted fugitive escapes from 7th story of apartment building

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Dozens of U.S. Marshals, along with officers from the Milwaukee Police Department, swarmed an apartment on Milwaukee's lower east side on Tuesday evening, July 23rd, searching for wanted fugitive Jonnie Lopez.

Authorities pursued 28-year-old Lopez, featured on FOX6's Wisconsin's Most Wanted, after a tip led them to Juneau Village Towers. Lopez eluded officers during the pursuit and is still on the run.

Those living in the building believe Lopez jumped from a balcony to escape.

"He went up to the seventh floor, then he climbed down to the third floor balcony and then he must have jumped down from there," suspects one resident.

After somehow scaling the side of the building, tenants say Lopez attempted to enter lower-level apartments to avoid police.

"That scared me a bit. I had to be very aware of opening my door because I needed to be aware of who was on the other side of my door," said Madhura Joshi.

In a FOX6 exclusive interview with a Deputy U.S. Marshal, he described Lopez's record of "charges and convictions of distributions of drugs and possession of firearms" and an "extensive criminal history as well as alleged gang ties."

Lopez is considered violent and dangerous. One victim, who did not want to be identified, says he is still afraid of Lopez.

"He's very convincing. When they say he tried to bribe someone to let him in, that's the type he is. I've been around him for five years," said the victim. "Lock your doors. Be safe. He's a dangerous person. He's exactly what they say."

Earlier this year, the victim claims Lopez held him hostage, robbed him of cash, his cell phone and car title. The victim says he isn't surprised Lopez escaped yet again.

"He's pretty athletic. He kick-boxes, fights. He doesn't smoke. He's pretty athletic," says the man.

Residents of Juneau Village Towers still have many unanswered questions after Tuesday's incident.

"Did he get away? Is he still here? Is he still in the building? I don't know," said a woman identified only as Debbie.

U.S. Marshals say they searched each unit in the building and did not find Lopez, but declined to comment any further on the investigation.

Lopez is described as being 5’9″ tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He has a tattoo that says ‘Lopez’ on the right side of his neck.

U.S. Marshals are asking anyone with information about Jonnie Lopez to call 414-297-3707 and warning that "anyone who sees him should be careful."

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