UPDATE: Both the suspect and his wife—who helped Oropeza elude capture—were arrested the evening of May 2, after a tip called into an FBI line led law enforcement to his location.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has offered a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of an illegal alien who allegedly shot and killed five people.
Francisco Oropeza—who is now a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) top 10 fugitive—fled the scene of the crime this weekend.
The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office was the first of several law enforcement agencies to respond to a call regarding a mass shooter in the Trails End area of Cleveland, Texas, on Friday, April 28.
The incident began as a harassment call to the sheriff’s office at 11:30 p.m. on Friday. Sheriff Greg Capers said the harassment immediately turned into a shooting.
Wilson Garcia, whose wife and son were two of the victims, said he and two other people went to Oropeza’s house and requested he shoot his gun farther away from their home since Garcia had a 10-month-old trying to sleep.
According to Garcia, Oropeza told them he was on his own property and could do what he wanted. Upon Oropeza’s refusal, Garcia called the police.
Less than half an hour later, Oropeza arrived at the Garcias’ home and began shooting.
The following afternoon, officials identified the victims, all originally from Honduras, as 25-year-old Sonia Argentina Guzman, 21-year-old Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 31-year-old Julisa Molina Rivera, 18-year-old Jonathan Casarez, and 9-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso.
According to law enforcement officials, all five victims were shot “execution-style,” with multiple gunshot wounds from the neck up, in their home. Four of the victims were pronounced deceased upon paramedics’ arrival at the scene. Doctors pronounced 9-year-old Laso deceased at the hospital.
Capers said 10 people were inside the home at the time of the shooting; two were uninjured and seemingly untouched, and three others were found covered in blood and were transported to the nearest hospital. Their status has not yet been released.
While it is unclear if or how the victims were related, officials say they were all living under the same roof.
Oropeza fled the area after the shooting. A SWAT team later recovered several guns from his home.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are actively searching for the gunman, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas DPS, Texas Rangers, and San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.
San Jacinto County Judge John Wells has issued an arrest warrant for Oropeza and assigned a $5 million bond.
“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the five victims that were taken in this senseless act of violence,” said Gov. Abbott. “I continue working with state and local officials to ensure they have all available resources to respond to this horrific crime. I thank the men and women in law enforcement who are tirelessly working to ensure this criminal is caught and brought to justice.”
Capers requested that those with any tips or information call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office immediately at (936) 653-4367. Callers can remain anonymous if they would prefer.
If seen, Capers said to call 911 and not approach the suspect, as he is considered armed and dangerous.
#WANTED Francisco Oropeza, 38. If you see him, please DO NOT approach him. He is considered armed and dangerous. If you have a tip related to the shooting or Oropeza's whereabouts please call the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office at 936-653-4367. #ClevelandTXshooting pic.twitter.com/OWZvG2nLN4
— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) April 30, 2023