Sat. Jun 8th, 2024

Texas Mass shooting: 5 killed, including 8-year-old in San Jacinto County, shooter still missing

 

If you have any tips or information, please call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367. You can remain anonymous.

A manhunt continues for a mass shooting suspect in San Jacinto County as law enforcement officials have now widened their search up to a 20-mile radius to find a gunman who killed five people, including an 8-year-old.

Authorities have identified the gunman as 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said Oropesa was shooting an AR-15 outside his home on the 100 block of Walters Rd. in Cleveland, TX around 11:30 p.m. Friday when his next-door neighbors asked him to stop because their baby was sleeping.

Oropesa reportedly told the neighbors he would do what he wanted. Deputies say the 38-year-old, who was intoxicated at the time, went on a shooting spree and shot all five family members “execution style” before fleeing. Oropesa hasn’t been seen since.

Cleveland, TX mass shooting: Authorities searching for suspect that killed 5, including 8-year-old

In San Jacinto County, various government agencies are on a manhunt Saturday after a gunman killed five people, including an 8-year-old child at a home west of Cleveland, Texas. FOX 26’s Shelby Rose reports on what we know so far.

Officials have released the names and ages of all the victims. They are Sonia Argentina Guzman 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, 8.

However, there were a total of 10 people inside the home at the time.

Three other children were also found “covered in blood,” Sheriff Capers said, and taken to the hospital. Two other people inside the home were evaluated for injuries at the scene but released.

Those who knew the family from Honduras were heartbroken to learn the tragic news.

“I’m shocked and sad because I did know the people, the victims. It’s heartbreaking because I used to see him (Daniel) every day walk to the bus stop,” said neighbor, Vivian Posada.

Francisco Oropesa, 38, (Photo courtesy of San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office)

“The fact that it was the type of gun that it was, everybody should not be allowed to have those types of weapons,” Barbara S. Justice, President of the Coldspring Chamber of Commerce said.

In lieu of their annual fundraiser, San Jacinto County Democrats held a prayer vigil for the victims.

“That’s the kind of thing we just don’t see in San Jacinto County, so to say it’s shaken the community, would be a dramatic understatement. Here we have another case where it’s easier to get a machine gun than a fishing license, and we continue to see these tragedies across the United States; kids dying,” San Jacinto County Democratic Party Chairman John Michael Adams said.

The Sheriff says they know exactly who the shooter is based on seeing him with Ring Doorbell footage with the weapon and SWAT cleared his home, but as of this writing, several agencies are still looking for him. The search area has reportedly increased and, officials believe Oropesa could be on foot, but they are unsure.

The FBI Houston has taken control of the investigation.

“Better is achievable, good is no longer good enough, that we as a people have to continue to stand together to make change because if not, it could be your little girl, your little boy that’s gone, or your family member that’s gone,” said Pastor Jocelyn Traylor with the St. Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

Sheriff Capers says though they have not located Oropesa yet, they did find a cell phone they were looking for along with articles of clothing.

Officials say they have responded to calls in that neighborhood in the past. A judge has filed an arrest warrant and assigned the shooter a $5 million bond. source

If you have any tips or information, please call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367. You can remain anonymous.

updated 5/1/2023

200 officers are in a manhunt for the Texas suspect accused of killing his 5 neighbors. Authorities are offering $80,000 for information

 

More than 200 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for the gunman accused of shooting and killing five people, including a 9-year-old child, at a Cleveland, Texas, home after neighbors asked him to stop firing his rifle outdoors, officials said Sunday.

Those officers are going door to door and asking community members for information while authorities are also creating billboard posters in Spanish to inform everyone of the search, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said in a Sunday afternoon news conference.

And there’s now also a collective $80,000 reward being offered for information that leads to the suspect’s arrest, FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith announced in the news conference.

Francisco Oropesa, 38, is accused of killing four adults and a 9-year-old boy at a neighboring home Friday night in the city of Cleveland – about 40 miles northeast of downtown Houston. Investigators initially started tracking Oropesa using his cellphone, but said that trail went cold Saturday evening – and he could now be anywhere.

Suspect Francisco Oropesa, seen here in a picture posted by FBI Houston on Twitter.

“We don’t have any tips right now to where he may be and that’s why we’ve come up with this reward, so that hopefully somebody out there can call us,” Smith said at Sunday’s news conference.

“I can pretty much guarantee you, he’s contacted some of his friends,” Smith said, adding, “We just don’t know what friends they are and that’s what we need from the public, is any type of information because right now we’re running into dead ends.”

In a Twitter post earlier Sunday, the FBI warned the suspect is “armed and dangerous” and urged anyone who saw Oropesa not to approach him.

The US has suffered at least 184 mass shootings in the first four months of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit, like CNN, defines mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot – not including the shooter.

How the massacre unfolded

Authorities said Sunday they were focused on capturing the suspect and bringing closure and justice to the five people killed. A day earlier, the sheriff described how the violence unfolded.

“The victims, they came over to the fence said, ‘Hey, could you mind not shooting out in the yard. We have a young baby that is trying to go sleep,’” Capers said Saturday.

The suspect, who had been drinking, responded: “I’ll do what I want to in my front yard.”

At some point, a doorbell camera at the home of the victims captured the suspect approaching with his rifle, Capers said.

Then the home turned into a scene of carnage. Multiple people were later found dead in different rooms.

Nine-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman was shot and killed. So were Sonia Argentina Gúzman, 25; Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and José Jonathan Cásarez, 18.

All five were shot “almost execution style” – above the neck at close range, the sheriff said.

Five other people who were home during the rampage were not hurt, Capers said. Three children were found covered in blood and were taken to a hospital, but were not injured.

Authorities believe two women died while using their bodies to shield the children who survived.

“The three children … were covered in blood from the same ladies that were laying on top of them trying to protect them,” the sheriff said Sunday. Those children are now safe and with family, he added.

A vigil for the 9-year-old boy was scheduled to take place Sunday evening, the sheriff said. Authorities initially reported the boy was 8 years old, but his father told CNN on Sunday his son turned 9 in January.

Cleveland, Texas

Father of slain boy describes what happened

Wilson Garcia, the father of the young boy killed, said they called 911 five times Friday night to report the suspect shooting his firearm.

Capers, the sheriff, said Sunday authorities got to the scene as fast as they could but there is a small force covering a large county. The home where the shooting took place is about 15 minutes outside of town.

Garcia said he and two other men walked over to Oropesa to ask him to stop shooting so close to their home because their baby was sleeping. He said they asked Oropesa to shoot on the other side of his property.

About 10 to 20 minutes later, the suspect came back, walked up to the house and started shooting, killing Garcia’s wife, Sonia Argentina Gúzman, first at the front door of the home, he said.

Garcia said he jumped out of a window and ran – adding another woman told him he had to survive because his children didn’t have a mother anymore and needed him.

Sonia Argentina Gúzman and Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman.

‘We have zero leads’

Authorities had received previous calls about Oropesa allegedly shooting his rifle in the front yard, the sheriff said.

Law enforcement initially spelled the suspect’s name as “Oropeza” but the FBI said Sunday it will use the spelling “Oropesa” to “better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems.” The FBI acknowledged he has been listed in various databases with both spellings.

Oropesa was known to shoot a .223 rifle, Capers said. Shell casings were also found outside the home after the shooting.

Authorities found at least three weapons inside the suspect’s home and spoke to the suspect’s wife, the sheriff said.

Oropesa’s cell phone was found abandoned, along with articles of clothing, Capers said.

“The tracking dogs from Texas Department of Corrections picked up the scent, and then they lost that scent,” he said.

Authorities said Sunday they did not know if the suspect was still in the area.

“If anybody, whether you are here in this county, or this state of Texas or around the country, have any tips, we’re asking you to please call” authorities, Smith, with the FBI, said. “Right now, we have zero leads.”

All 5 slain victims were Honduran

Some of those inside the home had moved there from Houston just days ago, the sheriff said.

Wilson Paz, director general of migrant protection for Honduras, told CNN all five victims were Honduran.

he Honduran Consulate in Houston is offering support to the victims’ families and preparing to repatriate the five people killed, the Honduran Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“The Government of Honduras deeply regrets the loss of these valuable lives and accompanies all their loved ones in their pain,” the statement said. “We demand that the pertinent authorities arrest the perpetrator of this terrible event and apply the full weight of the law.”

Correction: A previous version of this story gave the wrong photo of the suspect due to incorrect information provided by the FBI Houston Field Office. source


Texas shooting: Suspect accused of killing 5 neighbors after request to stop firing rifle

San Jacinto County, Texas sheriff names suspect in shooting as Mexican national Francisco Oropeza, as manhunt closes in

A Mexican national is suspected of killing five neighbors in southeast Texas after one of them asked him to stop shooting his rifle late Friday, saying that a baby was trying to sleep.

The suspect in the execution-style killings is Francisco Oropeza, 39, a Mexican national, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers.

Capers said during a Saturday afternoon press conference that Oropeza “could be anywhere now.” Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Houston Field Office said that Oropeza should be considered “armed and dangerous” and is a “threat to the community.”

The Texas Department of Corrections has sent a team with dogs, officers on horseback and a drone in the air to assist with Oropeza’s arrest, police said.

Texas shooting suspect Francisco Oropeza is seen in photo

Francisco Oropeza, 39, a Mexican national, is suspected of killing five people near Cleveland, Texas, Friday, April 28, 2023. (Fox News)

Texas shooting at home leaves 5 dead; Mexican national named as suspect

A Mexican national is suspected of killing five neighbors near Cleveland, Texas, Friday, April 28, 2023, after one asked him to stop firing a rifle. (KTRK)

Texas mass shooting

Law enforcement authorities removing bodies from a scene where five people were shot the night before Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Cleveland, TX. Authorities say an 8-year-old child was among five people killed in a shooting at the home in southeast Texas late Friday night. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Officials said the following individuals were killed in the shooting: Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Daniel Enrique Laso, 8; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18.

Capers said during the press conference that law enforcement officers located some Oropeza’s clothing and tracking dogs picked up the scent, adding that the dogs lost the scent after they reached the water. Officers also located his cell phone.

He added that the search area is now up to 10 or 20 square miles.

Capers told Fox News Digital he is “praying” that the suspect will be in custody in the next two to four hours.

He said this was the first mass shooting incident with more than three victims his office has ever dealt with.

“Nobody should ever have to witness this,” Capers said. “Nobody should ever have to live through this.”

Just before midnight, deputies with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to respond to a call for “harassment” at the 100 block of Walters Road in the Trails End area of Cleveland, about 50 miles north of Houston.

En route to the scene, the sheriff’s office received multiple 911 calls about an active shooter at the location. Upon arriving, officers discovered five people had been shot at the residence, police said.

According to the sheriff, the suspect was a neighbor who had been firing an AR-15-style .223 caliber rifle in his yard before midnight. Police found shell casings in the yard.

“One of the victims came out of the house and said, hey, we have a small baby that’s trying to sleep,” Casper told KTRK. “And the man said, I’ll shoot out in my front yard, I do what I want to in my own residence.”

Texas mass shooting

The house of the suspect who is responsible of killing five people is photographed Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Cleveland, TX. Authorities say an 8-year-old child was among five people killed in a shooting at the home in southeast Texas late Friday night. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Texas shooting at home leaves 5 dead; Mexican national named as suspect

A Mexican national is suspected of killing five neighbors at a home near Cleveland, Texas, Friday, April 28, 2023, after one asked him to stop firing a rifle. (KTRK)

Witnesses told investigators the gunman was drinking alcohol.

What happened next is shocking. Police say the man walked up to the front door of his neighbor’s house and began firing. One victim was found by the doorway leading into the living room. Another victim was found dead in the living room. Two more women were found shot dead upstairs, their bodies shielding young children who survived and were taken to a hospital.

Caspers said each victim had been shot in the head.

When police arrived, four people were pronounced dead at the scene and an eight-year-old boy was airlifted in critical condition to a local trauma center, where he died, Capers said.

A SWAT unit from neighboring Montgomery County arrived to assist and cleared several properties near to the crime scene. The shooter was determined to have fled the county.

Police respond to Texas shooting at home leaves 5 dead; Mexican national named as suspect

Police respond to the scene where a Mexican national is suspected of killing five neighbors near Cleveland, Texas, Friday, April 28, 2023, after one asked him to stop firing a rifle. (KTRK)

Texas mass shooting

Law enforcement authorities responded to a scene where five people were shot the night before Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Cleveland, TX. Authorities say an 8-year-old child was among five people killed in a shooting at the home in southeast Texas late Friday night. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Three other victims were taken to the hospital “covered in blood,” according to the sheriff’s office. It was not clear if they were injured or if the blood belonged to the other victims.

Capers said that the victims were from Honduras. He said a total of 10 people were living in the house. Of those killed, four were adults, one male and three females, while the youngest was just eight years old. The three other victims who were taken to the hospital were children.

Two other people inside the residence were evaluated at the scene and released, police said.

“When we got here, the two females in the bedroom were actually laying over the top of the younger children, two of the three younger children” that survived, Capers said.

The sheriff’s office is withholding the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin, but says it has a copy of Oropeza’s consular identification card.

Caspers said authorities confiscated a shotgun, two rifles, including the .223 caliber rifle, and a pistol from the victims’ residence.

A judge issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest and assigned a $5 million bond.

Texas Rangers are assisting with the ongoing investigation. Police are asking the public to avoid the area, as there is still a heavy police presence.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 


Cleveland, Texas, shooting suspect remains at large; $80K reward offered for illegal immigrant turned fugitive

Manhunt intensifies for Texas mass shooting suspect Francisco Oropesa

A Mexican national – reported to be an illegal immigrant – wanted for the Texas shooting of five neighbors including a young boy, remained at large Monday morning.

More than 48 hours after the massacre in Cleveland, Texas, outside Houston, authorities are offering an $80,000 reward for information that leads to the capture of Francisco Oropesa.

Neighbors had allegedly asked Oropesa to stop firing his rifle in his yard late Friday so that a baby could sleep. The 38-year-old suspect, who authorities identified from video at the scene and by a Mexican consulate card, then entered the neighboring home and opened fire on five of the 10 people inside, allegedly killing the victims execution-style.

FBI Houston, which has taken over updates from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, said Sunday evening that more than 250 law enforcement officers from over a dozen agencies were actively searching for Oropesa.

Three photos of Texas fugitive Francisco Oropesa and a fourth of his tattoo

FBI Houston released the newest images of Francisco Oropesa and a prominent tattoo on his left forearm. Going forward, FBI said the subject’s last name will be spelled “Oropesa” to better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems. (FBI Houston)

“FBI Houston and other local, state, & federal agencies will not stop assisting SJSO until he is captured and justice is brought on behalf of the five victims,” they said.

FBI Special Agent in Charge James Smith announced Sunday an additional $25,000 FBI reward in connection with the investigation.

That increased the total reward amount to $80,000, up from the combined $55,000 being offered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office and multi-county crime stoppers.

“My heart is with this 8-year-old little boy. I don’t care if he was here legally. I don’t care if he was here illegally. He was in my county. Five people died in my county. And that is where my heart is. In my county, protecting my people to the best of our ability,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters in an update Sunday afternoon.

Capers said that he was supposed to escort the widow of a constable who died about a year ago to a Texas police officers’ memorial Sunday night but explained to her why he could not.

Texas sheriff and FBI address media on Cleveland shooting

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, left, wipes his eye as FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith speaks during a news conference, Sunday, April 30, 2023 in Cleveland, Texas. The search for suspect Francisco Oropesa is ongoing. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“My main intent and focus is 100% on capturing this suspect,” Capers said. The sheriff also said he would not be at the vigil for the slain boy held at Northside Elementary in Cleveland. “Once again, I would love to be there, but I’m going to be here looking, searching for the suspect,” Capers added.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of Oropesa is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI with tips.

Cleveland, Texas, home where 5 were shot

Young boys play outside their home as law enforcement continues to investigate the Cleveland, Texas, neighborhood Sunday, April 30, 2023, where a mass shooting left five people, including a child, dead two nights before. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

“We’re asking everyone for your help so we can bring this suspect – or this monster, I will call him – to justice,” Smith said at the same press conference Sunday. “Right now we just don’t know because if we did we would have him in custody. We do not know where he is. We do not have any tips right now where he may be.”

“I can pretty much guarantee you, he’s contacted some of his friends. We just don’t know which friends they are,” Smith added. “That’s what we need from the public, any type of information, because right now we’re just – we’re running into dead ends.”

Texas shooting survivor cries as vigil for slain son

Mass shooting survivor Wilson Garcia becomes emotional during a vigil for his son, Daniel Enrique Laso, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Capers told reporters that two women were found lying on top of and trying to protect three surviving children inside the home Friday night. The three children were loaded into an ambulance and brought to a hospital, where it was discovered they had not been physically injured. Four adults were found deceased at the scene: Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18. Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, age 8 or 9, was airlifted to a hospital, where he was declared deceased.

Another survivor, Wilson Garcia, whose wife Sonia and third-grade son were murdered, spoke to reporters at a vigil hosted Sunday afternoon at the school the boy had attended.

“My wife died, and my 9-year-old son died,” Garcia said in Spanish. “What can I say, I am trying to stay strong for my children. My daughter kind of gets, understands things. It’s hard when she comes to me and starts asking for her mom and her brother.”

Cleveland, Texas, shooting survivor with daughter

Wilson Garcia, center, holds a young girl during a vigil at Northside Elementary for his son Daniel Enrique Laso, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Garcia said another woman in the house told him to save himself.

“She told me to throw myself out of a window because my children were already without a mother,” he said.

The deceased victims are said to have been from Honduras, according to local reports.

A source with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News that Oropesa has been previously deported, has “multiple” illegal re-entries on his record, and was last encountered by ICE in 2016. A second source, within the Department of Homeland Security, told Fox News that Oropesa had been deported five times between 2009-2016.

Oropesa was previously ordered removed by an immigration judge on March 16, 2009, and subsequently removed by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Houston to Mexico on March 17, 2009, a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told Fox News. At an unknown time and location, Oropesa unlawfully reentered the United States, and was apprehended and removed several more times by ICE ERO in September 2009, January 2012, and July 2016.

Oropesa, who sometimes uses the additional hyphenated surname Perez-Torres, has also been previously convicted in Montgomery County, Texas, of driving while intoxicated in January 2012, and sentenced to serve time in jail, the spokesperson said. As a result of the April 29 incident, the Cold Spring Texas Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant for Oropesa for homicide. He is wanted by the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office in connection to the suspected shooter incident in Cleveland, Texas.