Francisco Oropesa, the suspect accused of fatally shooting five people, including a 9-year-old boy, in a Texas neighborhood, has been apprehended after a four-day manhunt. The alleged gunman was found hiding underneath laundry in a home in Conroe, Texas on Tuesday evening, just 75 minutes after a tip was called in. San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers confirmed that Oropesa was arrested without incident and called him a “coward” at a press conference later that evening.
Oropeza will be charged with five counts of murder, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said. Bond was set at $5 million.
“They can rest easy now,” Capers said, referring to the victims’ loved ones. “Because he is behind bars and he will live out his life behind bars for killing those five.” Oropesa, a Mexican national who has reportedly been deported four times, is facing five counts of murder and will be transferred to the county jail, where he will be held on $5 million bond.
FBI assistant special agent in charge Jimmy Paul thanked the person who provided the tip that led to Oropesa’s capture. “We just want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect’s location,” Paul said.
Survivor and grieving father Wilson Garcia revealed that his wife confronted Oropesa, believing he wouldn’t shoot a woman. However, Sonia Guzman, 25, was the first to die, followed by her son, Daniel Enrique Laso, 9, who rushed to try to help her. Along with the mother and son, the other victims were identified as Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18.
Capers noted that Alvarado and Rivera had used their bodies to protect their three children, who were found uninjured but covered in blood inside the home. All five victims were shot from the neck up, “execution-style,” before Oropesa fled.
The search involved more than 250 officers from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Video footage showed a shirtless and handcuffed Oropesa sitting in the passenger side of a pickup truck, surrounded by at least three law enforcement officers.
Authorities had released the wrong photo of the suspect at the start of the manhunt, causing the misidentified man, whose name was similar to the suspect’s, to go into hiding over fears that he would be targeted. Officials admitted on Sunday that they had “zero leads” on Oropesa’s whereabouts and that he could be anywhere.
Oropesa, who had been asked to stop firing shots in his yard, refused to comply and walked up to his neighbor’s home armed with an AR-15-style rifle after the family called 911 five times. Oropesa is a Mexican national who has been deported four times, with his most recent removal occurring in July 2016.
On March 17, 2009 an immigration judge ordered Oropesa to be removed from the U.S., but he unlawfully re-entered the U.S., where he was then apprehended and deported in September 2009, January 2012 and July 2016.