Sheriff’s deputies are engaged in a large scale manhunt for a “very dangerous” man accused of shooting to death five of his neighbors — one an 8-year-old child — after they asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard Friday night.
The shooting happened just before 11:30 p.m. at a home in Cleveland, Texas, as CrimeOnline previously reported. San Jacinto County deputies arrived to find four people dead on the scene. The youngest, an 8-year-old boy, was flown to a hospital, where he died from his wounds.
Sheriff Greg Capers identified the shooter as 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa and said he had been warned about shooting off weapons in the past.
“Deputies have come over and spoke with him about him shooting his gun in the yard,” he told KTRK.
Capers said Oropesa fired off several rounds from his front porch, prompting the neighbors to ask him not to do that since they had a baby inside who was trying to sleep.Oropesa’s response was to tell them he could do what he wanted from his property.
“The next thing they know, he’s walking up the driveway with a rifle in hand,” Capers told KHOU.
Capers said the victims ranged in age from 8 to 40 — three women, one man, and the boy. Ten people were in the home at the time of the shooting, he said. Three children were found covered in blood but uninjured, and two other adults were treated and released.
“When we got here, the two females in the bedroom were laying on top of two of three younger (surviving) children,” Capers said.
Capers said investigators believe Oropesa was drunk. All the victims were shot in the head, he said, “almost execution style.” One person in the house captured a video of him walking up the house with his rifle.
Officials have not released the names of the victims, but Capers said they were from Honduras originally. A family member identified the victims to KTRK as Diana, Yulyza Guzman, and Jonathan Rivera but did not provide all of the last names. The slain boy was identified as Daniel Lazo.
The sheriff’s office said they believed Oropesa had fled the county, but Capers urged residents to be vigilant.
“If you see anything, say something … this man is very dangerous and he is armed, potentially,” he told KHOU.
A SWAT team entered Oropesa’s home and located several guns, Capers said.
He is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and was last seen wearing jeans, a black shirt, and work beat. He has a goatee and short black hair.
The sheriff’s office said Oropesa has been charged with five counts of murder on a warrant that comes with a $5 million bond.
Multiple agencies, including the FBI, are assisting the hunt for Oropesa.
Law enforcement initially spelled the suspect’s name Oropeza but has since said that Oropesa is more accurate.
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[Featured image: Francisco Oropeza/San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office]