AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Police Tuesday recaptured an Arkansas prison escapee who was hiding out in a Salvation Army shelter only a block from police headquarters.

Acting on a tip from an informant, police said they found James Ray Renton, 50, asleep in a crowded dormitory room. Police said they awakened and arrested him and seized a sawed-off shotgun, a 12-gauge pistol and several knives.

Arkansas authorities ''think he is one of the probably most dangerous men we'll ever come in contact with,'' said senior Sgt. David Neely, one of those who arrested Renton.

''This guy said that he would kill cops. He's killed a cop before. He hates cops,'' added police spokesman C.F. Adams.

Renton was one of four inmates who escaped July 11 from a maximum security prison at Tucker, Ark. The others have been captured.

Renton had been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the abduction and slaying of Springdale policeman John T. Hussey, 22, in December 1975. From April 1976 until his arrest in May 1977, Renton was on the FBI's list of the 10 most wanted. He recently was placed on the U.S. Marshal Service's 15 most wanted list.

Arkansas prison spokesman David White said extradition proceedings were beginning immediately.

Neely said a segment about Renton was broadcast recently on the ''America's Most Wanted'' television program. Although he had shaved off a mustache and gotten a close haircut, an informant recognized Renton at the Salvation Army shelter and contacted police, Neely said.

Renton ''said he had seen himself on 'America's Most Wanted' and he needed to change his appearance,'' Neely said. He said the unidentified informant may have recognized Renton by several tattoos.

After receiving the tip, officers went to the Salvation Army shelter, one block west of police headquarters. Four sealed off the building's exits while five went inside.

The officers moved quietly through the men's dormitory room, which Neely said had 120 to 130 beds, which were mostly full.

''It's dimly lit. But we went from bunk to bunk until we found somebody that matched the description as best we could tell,'' Neely said. ''We encircled that bunk. I tapped him on the shoulder.''

Renton offered no resistance, the sergeant said.