A quiet neighborhood was shattered by a horrific tragedy when Mexican national Francisco Oropeza, 39, allegedly killed five neighbors, including an 8-year-old boy, late Friday night after one of them asked him to stop firing his rifle in his yard, as a baby was trying to sleep.
The chilling incident took place in the Trails End area of Cleveland, about 50 miles north of Houston. San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers reported that officers have located Oropeza and are optimistic that he will soon be in custody. He is currently pinned in a wooded area 1.2 miles west of the crime scene.
The Texas Department of Corrections has sent a team with dogs, officers on horseback, and a drone in the air to assist with Oropeza’s arrest, according to police.
Sheriff Capers told Fox News Digital that he is “praying” the suspect will be in custody within the next two to four hours. He added that this was the first mass shooting incident with more than three victims his office has ever dealt with.
“Nobody should ever have to witness this,” Capers said. “Nobody should ever have to live through this.”
Deputies were initially dispatched to respond to a call for “harassment” at the 100 block of Walters Road. While en route, multiple 911 calls about an active shooter at the location were received. Upon arriving, officers discovered the tragic scene: five people had been shot at the residence.
According to Sheriff Capers, Oropeza had been firing an AR-15-style .223 caliber rifle in his yard before midnight. When one of the victims requested him to stop shooting as they had a small baby trying to sleep, Oropeza reportedly responded, “I’ll shoot out in my front yard, I do what I want to in my own residence.”
Witnesses told investigators that the gunman had been drinking alcohol before he walked up to the front door of his neighbor’s house and began firing. The victims were found in various locations within the home, with some upstairs where two women were found dead, their bodies shielding young children who survived the attack and were taken to the hospital. Sheriff Capers reported that each victim had been shot in the head.
The close-knit community is left in shock as they mourn the senseless loss of life and search for answers in this tragic event.