CLEVELAND, Texas — The search for a Texas man who allegedly shot a neighbor after he asked him to stop shooting in his yard continued on Sunday for a second day.
Francisco Oropeza, 38, has fled the Friday night shooting that killed five people, including an 8-year-old boy. San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said Saturday night that authorities extended the search to 20 miles (20 miles) from the scene of the shooting.
Investigators found the clothes and phone as they combed through the countryside, including dense forest formations, but the tracking dog lost its scent.
Police recovered an AR-15-style rifle that Oropeza allegedly used in the shooting, but officials were unsure if Oropeza had another weapon.
“He could be anywhere now,” Capers said.
The attack occurred on a street near the town of Cleveland, north of Houston. Some residents say neighbors often hang out with their guns fired.
Capers said the victims were believed to be between the ages of 8 and 31 and all were from Honduras. All were shot “from the neck up,” he said.
The attack is the latest act in the record-breaking mass shootings in the United States so far this year, some of which also involved semi-automatic weapons.
Mass murder is taking place in schools in Nashville, banks in Kentucky, dance halls in Southern California, and rural Texas towns, now in single-story homes.
Capers said there were ten people in the house, some of whom had just moved in earlier in the week, and no one else was injured. He said he was found lying on top of two children.
A total of three children who were found covered in blood at home were taken to the hospital, but were found unharmed.
FBI spokesperson Christina Garza said investigators did not believe everyone in the home was part of a single family. I was. Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21 years old. Julisa Molina Rivera, 31 years old. Jose Jonathan Casares, 18 years old. Daniel Enrique Laso, 8.
Capers said the confrontation erupted after a neighbor approached the fence and asked the suspect to stop firing. Capers said the suspect told them it was his property, and one of the homes obtained a video of the suspect walking to the front door with a rifle.
Filming took place in a hollowed out countryside surrounded by a thick canopy of one-story houses on a one-acre (1-acre) property. A horse could be seen behind the victim’s house, and dogs and chickens roamed in the front yard of Oropeza’s house.
Rene Arevalo Sr., who lives in several houses, said she heard gunshots around midnight and thought nothing of it.
“It’s normal for people to do here, especially after work on Fridays,” said Arevalo. “When they get home, they start drinking in the backyard and they start shooting there.”
Capers said his agent visited Oropeza’s home at least once and spoke to him about “shooting his gun in the garden”. At a press conference Saturday night, the sheriff said it could be illegal to fire a gun on his property, but did not say whether Oropeza had previously broken the law.
Capers said the new arrivals at the house had moved in from Houston earlier in the week, but said he wasn’t sure if they planned to stay there.
At least 18 shootings have occurred across the United States since January 1, leaving at least four people dead, according to a database maintained by the Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. Violence can be driven by a variety of motives, including murder, suicide, and domestic violence. gang reprisals; school shootings; and workplace revenge.
Texas has faced multiple mass shootings in recent years, including last year’s attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. A racist attack at a Walmart in El Paso in 2019. A gunman opened fire on a church in the small town of Sutherland Springs in 2017.
Republican leaders in Texas have continued to reject calls for new gun control over protests by several families whose children were killed in Uvalde this year.
A few months ago, Arevalo said Oropeza unleashed a dog in his neighborhood and threatened to kill him after chasing a pitbull in his truck.
“I always tell my wife, ‘Stay away from the neighbors.’ Don’t argue with them. You never know how they will react,” Arevalo said. “Because Texas is a state where you don’t know who has a gun and who has a gun.”
An earlier version of this article, based on information from San Jacinto County prosecutors, incorrectly identified one of the victims as a 15-year-old. The story also reveals that police recovered his AR-15 style rifle in the fourth paragraph.
Weber reported from Austin, Texas. Associated Press writer Ken Miller contributed to this report.
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https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/apr/30/texas-mass-shooting-francisco-oropeza-suspect-coul/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS Texas shooting suspect Francisco Oropeza could be anywhere, says Sheriff Greg Capers