San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers has identified the suspect in the killing of five neighbors in southeast Texas as Mexican National Francisco Oropesa, 39, Police have located Oropesa and are hopeful that he will soon be in custody.
The incident occurred just before midnight on Friday when 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.
Upon arriving at the location, officers discovered five people had been shot at the residence, including an 8-year-old. The suspect was identified as a neighbor who had been firing an AR-15-style .223 caliber rifle in his yard. According to witnesses, the gunman was drinking alcohol.
The victims ranged in age from 8 to 40 years old, and they were all from Honduras, ABC News reports
“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.”
The shooter then 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. 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. Three other victims were taken to the hospital “covered in blood,” according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office is withholding the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin, but says it has a copy of Oropesa’s consular identification card. Capers said authorities confiscated a shotgun, two rifles, including the .223 caliber rifle, and a pistol from the victims’ residence.
The Texas Department of Corrections has sent a team with dogs, officers on horseback, and a drone in the air to assist with Oropesa’s arrest. A judge issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest and assigned a $5 million bond. Texas Rangers are assisting with the ongoing investigation.
Capers 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.” The sheriff’s office is 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.