CLEVELAND, Texas — A manhunt is underway in East Texas as local, state, and federal officials search for a Mexican national believed to have killed five Honduran neighbors. The alleged shooting took place shortly before midnight Friday night in the community located about an hour north of Houston.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters during a Saturday press conference that the suspected killer, 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, a Mexican national, fled on foot after shooting and killing five Honduran neighbors late Friday night. Capers said search dogs tracked the man after finding a cell phone and some clothing but the dogs lost the track when the man entered the water.
Police officials believe the man is still on foot but the search area has widened after the dogs lost his track.
“Our number one priority,” the sheriff began, “has been to locate this suspect and put him behind bars where he belongs.”
The incident reportedly began shortly before midnight when Oropeza came out of his house in a rural area near Cleveland, Texas, and fired a rifle into the air or into the ground, Capers said. A neighbor then confronted the suspect and asked him to stop the noise as they had an infant trying to sleep.
Oropeza reportedly replied he would do whatever he wanted on his property. Capers said the neighbor then went back into his home and the suspect followed with the rifle.
Of the ten people living in the home at the time of the shooting, five are now dead, the East Texas Sheriff explained. The five decedents are identified as:
- Julisa Molina Rivera, age 31
- Sonia Argentina Guzman, age 25
- Diana Velazquez Alvarado, age 21
- Jose Jonathan Casarez, age 18
- Daniel Enrique Laso, age 8
The eight-year-old boy reportedly died at the hospital. The four other victims were found dead at the scene.
Capers said none of the other five occupants of the home sustained any physical injuries.
FBI Special Agent in Charge James Smith announced they are assisting in the investigation and manhunt. They cautioned that Oropeza is considered to be armed and a danger to the community.
“We’re still out there trying to find this individual,” Smith said. “We consider him armed and dangerous and we’re not going to stop until we actually arrest him and bring him into custody.”
Sheriff Capers explained they believe they have the murder weapon in their possession but the suspected killer could be armed with a smaller weapon.
“He could be anywhere now,” Sheriff Capers stated.
Capers did not have information on the immigration status of the suspected killer. Breitbart Texas reached out to Houston ICE officials for an immigration status update. An immediate response was not available.
Sheriff Capers advised the reward for information leading to the capture of this suspect has been increased to $80,000.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story. Additional information will be added as it becomes available.
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