Over 200 law enforcement officers in Texas searched on Sunday (Apr 30) for a man accused of shooting to death five neighbours after being asked to stop firing a semiautomatic rifle in Cleveland, Texas.
Francisco Oropesa, 38, is accused of opening fire on neighbours after being asked to stop shooting an AR-15-style rifle late Friday because it was keeping a baby awake. The victims include an 8-year-old boy.
“Right now, we have zero leads,” FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith told reporters on Sunday.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said over 200 law enforcement personnel were going door-to-door looking for the suspect or any tips on how to find him. Officials are offering an US$80,000 reward for information that will lead to the suspect’s apprehension.
Oropesa’s name had been spelled “Oropeza” in early communications from law enforcement but was changed “to better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems”, the FBI said on Sunday. It gave no further detail.
Officials received a call from the home in Cleveland, about 72km north of Houston, at 11.31pm on Friday.
Capers said on Saturday that the suspect stepped out of his house on Friday night and started shooting off rounds in his yard, which is when some of the victims stepped out to ask him to stop.
“The man walked over to the fence, said ‘Hey, we’re trying to keep the baby asleep in here,'” Capers said.
Both parties then went back to their houses. Oropesa “topped off his magazine and walked down his driveway” onto the street then “into the people’s house and started shooting”, Capers said.
Capers had said most of the victims had been shot in the head, “almost execution-style”. Police said all five were from Honduras.
Police had been called to the suspect’s house on a couple of previous occasions over complaints about noise from gunfire in his yard, Capers said.
The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. They were all believed to be living in the house, but were not members of a single family, according to the FBI.
Mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States, with at least 176 so far in 2023, the most at this point in the year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit group defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the shooter.