- Home & Garden
- 01 Aug 2023
The Suspect in a Texas Mass Shooting Disappeared, and Authorities have 'Zero Leads.'
This weekend, an army of law enforcement officers outside Houston continued their search for a man suspected of using an AR-15 weapon to execute-style kill five neighbors.
Francisco Oropesa, 38, was said to have eluded a 2-mile dragnet of more than 150 law enforcement personnel on Saturday near Cleveland, Texas, which is located approximately 45 miles north of Houston, according to authorities. Then it was said that more than 250 officers were still looking for him.
According to the authorities, Oropesa is suspected of opening fire on his neighbors on Friday end, after one of them complained that because of shots coming from his next house were hindering his infant from falling asleep. As per the authorities, Oropesa may have been drunk prior to the incident. One of the neighbors named, Shawn Crawford, claims to know Oropesa and the victims both; he called the neighborhood "family-oriented" and the suspect a "family guy."
Crawford said, "He's always working, training his horse. "Never have I seen a fight, argument, raise his voice, anything."
He said that prior complaints of gunfire were readily resolved since Oropesa would move to a different part of his property. Sheriff Greg Capers of San Jacinto County acknowledged earlier reports of gunshots, which, depending on the size of his land, could not have been illegal.
The suspect's disappearance would seem all the more shocking given his portrayal as a fair-minded family man. Despite being in touch with Oropesa's wife, law enforcement officials claimed they had no further leads besides his apparent contact with someone on Saturday afternoon.
"We're running into dead ends," James Smith, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Houston-area office, said at a news conference Sunday afternoon. "Right now, we have zero leads."
Before scent-tracking dogs lost the suspect's trail on Saturday, searchers discovered his mobile and some of his clothing, according to the authorities.
Sheriff Capers claimed that although the attack's rifle had been confiscated by investigators, the suspect might still be carrying a handgun as well. His identity and birthday match court records for a drunken driving conviction from 2012, which were related to a Texas Highway Patrol arrest from a year earlier, and they indicate he may be a local of more than ten years.
As neighboring agencies, including the Texas Public Safety Department, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, joined the search on Sunday, Capers vowed to give it his full attention.
Capers told the media that "It is my No. 1 priority to find him."
Sunday afternoon saw the beginning of a vigil for the youngest victim, 9-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso. Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, were the additional victims of the attack.
The FBI pledged $25,000, bringing the total reward money for information leading to the suspect's capture to $80,000.
The FBI withdrew a photo that had been released and released several new images, including a tattoo on the suspect's forearm, to help the public recognize and report him should anyone come across him. This was done as law enforcement went door to door looking for security footage or tips that might lead to the suspect. quot; We moved quickly to remove that photo," he said. "Now we're 100% confident we have the right photo out there."
Authorities had previously said that Oropesa marched to his neighbor's house with an AR-15 semi-automatic gun and fixedly targeted his victims. When a reporter indicated that victims might have been shot at, Capers retaliated at a press conference on Saturday. In an interview that followed, he then said "All of them were headshot in an execution style." He outlined the shooter's suspected actions on Friday night before midnight as they were known to investigators.
"This man takes it upon himself to walk out of his residence with a loaded AR-15, walk out into the street, walk down the street, walk into that man's driveway, walk up into that man's house, and start shooting."
According to officials, the 9-year-old died in a hospital while the four adult victims passed away on the spot. According to Capers, two ladies at the house may have saved three additional children by covering them with their bodies. He claimed that, in total, 15 shots had been fired.