Police spent four days looking for a man who was suspected of killing five of his neighbors, including a child. On Tuesday, they found him hiding under a pile of dirty clothes in the closet of a house in Texas.
Francisco Oropeza, age 38, was caught about 20 miles from his home in the rural town of Cleveland, where police say he went next door and shot his neighbors with an AR-style rifle.
The people who were hurt had already asked him to stop shooting in his yard because it kept a baby awake. Greg Capers, the sheriff of San Jacinto County, told the families of the dead, “They can rest easy now that he is in jail.” “He will spend the rest of his life in prison because he killed those five people.”
Drones and Dogs Were Used in Search
During an expanding search, drones and dogs that follow scents were used to look through a highly wooded forest a few miles from the scene. As the search went on into the weekend, Governor Greg Abbott offered a prize of $50,000.
The man was found in a house near Conroe, about 40 miles north of Houston, thanks to a tip from the public.
FBI spokesman Connor Hagan said that Mr. Oropeza was arrested by the US Marshals, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the BORTAC team of the US Border Patrol.
US immigration agents say that Mr. Oropeza is a Mexican citizen who has been sent back to Mexico four times.
Mr. Capers said that at least one other time before Friday’s shooting, police had been called to the suspect’s house because he was shooting rounds in his yard.
The people who died were all from Honduras. Wilson Garcia, who lived through the shooting, said that his friends and family tried to hide and protect themselves and the children when Mr. Oropeza walked up to the house and started shooting, killing his wife at the front door first.
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Names of Victims
Mr. Abbot called the victims “illegal immigrants” when he offered the reward. This was a partly false statement that his office apologized for and took back on Monday after he got a lot of backlash for bringing attention to their immigration status. Renae Eze, a spokesperson for Mr. Abbott, said that they later found out that one of the deaths may have been in the country legally.
The victims were named Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 9.
Diana’s father, Osmán Velásquez, said on Tuesday that his daughter just got residency.
“I let her take my daughter because her sister persuaded me to. She told me that the U.S. is a land of possibilities, which is true,” he said. “But I didn’t think it was only for this.”
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