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Suspect in killing of 5 Texas neighbors caught after 4-day manhunt

2023-05-03T02:43:21Z

An aerial view shows a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) van where a search is being conducted for Francisco Oropeza, 38, who police say shot dead five neighbors in Cleveland, Texas, U.S. April 29, 2023 in a still image from video. ABC affiliate KTRK via REUTERS

A man suspected of killing five neighbors in Texas over complaints of noise he was making by firing his gun outside at night was arrested in a neighboring town on Tuesday after a massive, four-day manhunt, a county sheriff said.

The suspect was identified this week as Francisco Oropesa, 38, a Mexican national who immigration officials say had been deported from the United States four times since 2009.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters Oropesa was caught in a home, hiding beneath some laundry, after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a tip.

“He is behind bars, and he will live out his life behind bars for killing those five,” Capers said.

The victims were killed in the town of Cleveland,

Texas, and the suspect arrested in the town of Cut and Shoot, Texas, roughly 17 miles (27 km) due west.

The arrest came as the FBI said it was working with law enforcement agencies nationwide and in Mexico in an expanded, four-day manhunt.

Law enforcement officials had said on Sunday that the suspect’s trail had grown cold as they appealed to the public for tips and offered an $80,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Capers said he believed the person who tipped off officials would be eligible for the reward.

Officers from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit carried out the arrest about an hour and 15 minutes after receiving the tip, an FBI spokesperson said.

The incident began on Friday night when Oropesa stepped out of his house and starting firing bursts from his semiautomatic rifle, prompting neighbors to ask him to stop because the gunshots were keeping their baby awake, officials said.

According to police accounts from eyewitnesses, the suspect went inside his house and reloaded, then barged into the neighbor’s home and opened fire, killing five of the 10 people inside, including an 8-year-old boy.

Most of the victims were shot in the head. All were from Honduras and living at the address but were not all family members, Capers said.

The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8.

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