CLEVELAND, Texas – Hundreds of people have joined the expanding search for a Texas man who shot and killed five of his neighbors.
On Sunday FBI special agent James Smith said, “I can tell you right now, we have zero leads,” as officers from multiple jurisdictions take part in the manhunt for the suspect, 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza.
Late Friday night Oropeza was firing off shots in his yard when his neighbor Wilson Garcia and two others came to ask him to stop because there was a baby that was trying to go to sleep. Oropeza had been drinking and refused, saying, “I’ll do what I want to in my front yard.” At this point Garcia walked away and said he called the police five times.
About 10 minutes later Garcia said he saw Oropeza running toward the house while loading his AR-15 style rifle. He told his wife to get inside but Garcia’s wife told him to get inside and that he wouldn’t shoot her because she’s a woman.
Oropeza first killed Garcia’s wife, 25-year-old Sonia Guzman, at the front door. He then proceeded execution style to shoot and kill 18-year-old Jose Jonathan Casarez, 21-year-old Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 31-year-old Obdulia Molina Rivera and Garcia’s stepson 9-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman. Garcia said, “I never thought that he would shoot. Then he went room to room, looking for people.”
According to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, two women were found shot and killed while lying on top of and shielding three children, who ended up surviving.
Investigators recovered Oropeza’s AR-15 style rifle along with some articles of clothing and a phone found in a forested area where the tracking dogs lost his scent.
Authorities believe Oropeza may have called a friend for help after the shooting and are encouraging that friend to come forward. The governor along with the FBI have put up $80,000 in reward money for any information. A judge issued an arrest warrant and assigned a $5,000,000 bond.
According to ICE, Oropeza had been deported to Mexico at least four times since 2009.