Officials stated that the guy who they believe fatally shot five people in a neighborhood dispute outside the town of Cleveland, Texas, was captured on Tuesday after a manhunt that stretched to the Mexican border and involved heavily armed Texas and federal officers.
According to Greg Capers, the county sheriff, Francisco Oropesa, the suspect, was “caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry” in a residence a few miles from the scene of the killing on Friday in San Jacinto County.
According to Sheriff Capers, Mr. Oropesa, a 38-year-old Mexican immigrant who had already been deported four times, was charged with five charges of murder and was being held on a $5 million bond. On Tuesday evening, Mr. Oropesa was being returned to a San Jacinto County jail.
Sheriff Capers added that Mr. Oropesa had not resisted arrest but failed to say who owned the house where he was discovered next to Cut and Shoot. According to property records, the house belonged to one of his relatives.
Sheriff Capers announced during a news conference on Tuesday night that “someone got a tip.” Following that, tactical officers from various agencies “meandered over there and found that tip to be true.”
According to officials, those connected to the Montgomery County residents are being questioned, but as of Tuesday night, no one else had been arrested.
State and federal law enforcement officials had been looking for Mr. Oropesa for four days in the dense woods around his home west of Cleveland, in neighboring counties, and all the way down to the Mexican border, where they suspected he may be trying to flee.
However, officers eventually located Mr. Oropesa about 10 miles from the scene of the killings. His face was prominently displayed on Spanish-language posters throughout San Jacinto County, which is about an hour’s drive north of Houston.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Breaking News: After a manhunt, Texas law enforcement officials arrested the man who they believe shot and killed five people in a neighborhood dispute. https://t.co/Bf3NnBh6Us
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 3, 2023
Texas Murder Suspect Arrested After Tip to FBI and $80,000 Reward Offered
The tip that resulted in Mr. Oropesa’s arrest, according to Jimmy Paul, an associate special agent in charge with the FBI, was received at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Mr. Oropesa was taken into custody at 6:30 p.m. shortly after. Mr. Paul made no further mention of the tip’s content or its source. The government had promised incentives totaling $80,000 for information that would result in Mr. Oropesa’s capture.
He was brought into custody without a hitch, according to officials, by a team that included agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Border Patrol’s tactical squad, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The murders took place late on Friday. On a parcel of property less than an acre in a run of like-sized homes along a rutted dirt road, Mr. Oropesa, according to officials, had been firing a rifle that night in his front yard outside of Cleveland. Around 11:30 p.m., a family from Honduras who lived next door to him called Mr. Oropesa and the police to complain about the noise.
Officers did not arrive there right away despite homeowners’ repeated complaints of extremely reckless firing. Officials claimed that shortly after the complaints, Mr. Oropesa was captured on a doorbell video entering Wilson Garcia’s house while brandishing an AR-15-style rifle.
The F.B.I. reports that five persons, including Mr. Garcia’s wife Sonia Guzman, 25, his son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Juliza Molina Rivera, 31, and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, were shot and killed inside the house.
On Tuesday, issues concerning the effectiveness of the response to the deaths were not addressed by officials.
Fritz Faulkner, the chief executive of San Jacinto County, claimed in a telephone interview that he had been informed of the arrest shortly after it had taken place. He claimed that the killings had stunned the neighborhood and that the county was now, finally, able to rest easy after many days.
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