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Five Dead in Texas Mass Shooting

Cleveland, Texas Police
Texas police said that a 38-year-old suspect shot 5 dead in a Texas mass shooting. Credit: Clevelandtexas official

Law enforcement officers are searching for a man suspected of using a firearm to kill five people in Cleveland, Texas, about 45 miles north of Houston.

The suspect, Francisco Oropesa, 38, is believed to have shot his neighbors on Friday night after one of them complained that gunshots from Oropesa’s property were keeping an infant awake. The officials believe that Oropesa used an AR-15 rifle to kill five neighbors.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said that 10 people were inside the house when the attack happened, and five of them managed to survive.

The FBI identified the victims as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. While they were all living in the same house, they were not related as a single family.

Over 150 law enforcement officials were involved in the search for Oropesa on Saturday, but he managed to evade them. On Sunday, more than 250 officers continued the search for him.

Shawn Crawford, a neighbor of both Oropesa and the victims, described the community as “family-oriented” and the suspect as a “family guy.”

Moreover, Crawford further stated that Oropesa is typically busy working and training his horse, and Crawford has never witnessed any fighting, arguing, or loud behavior from the suspect.

The suspect might be under the influence of drugs

Authorities think that the suspect may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the attack.

The authorities believe that the shooting happened because neighbors had asked the suspect to stop shooting his gun in his front yard, as there was a baby trying to sleep.

“My understanding is that the victims, they came over to the fence and said, ‘Hey, could [you not do your] shooting out in the yard? We have a young baby that’s trying to go to sleep,’ and he had been drinking, and he says, ‘I’ll do what I want to in my front yard,'” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told KTRK.

Capers further explained that the situation escalated quickly from harassment to a shooting. However, he believed that some of the victims were trying to protect their children, and their bodies were found on top of unharmed children.

The authorities said that all of the shootings took place in one home and that the victims were all from Honduras. Four of the victims died at the scene, and the fifth victim, an 8-year-old boy, was taken to the hospital but was also declared dead later.

The suspect is a ‘threat to the community’

FBI Agent James Smith said that the suspect is considered dangerous and poses a threat to the community. Smith spoke to reporters during a press briefing on Saturday evening, stating that law enforcement officials will not rest until the suspect is in custody.

Authorities believe that they have recovered the weapon used in the attack. However, they are unsure if the suspect has another weapon in his possession. During the search, the suspect’s cell phone was found abandoned, along with several items of clothing.

Despite search efforts, the suspect has managed to evade capture, and search dogs have lost his scent. This means that he could be anywhere at this point, according to law enforcement officials.

The suspect has been identified as a Hispanic male who is 5-foot-8 in height. He was last seen wearing jeans, a black shirt, and work boots. He has a goatee and short black hair, according to investigators.

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