Following the overnight shooting in the town of Cleveland, about 45 miles north of Houston, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers informed reporters on the scene that authorities were looking for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza. By late Saturday morning, according to Capers, investigators were using a drone flying above and scent-tracking dogs to look for Oropeza. He said that Oropeza shot targets while using an AR-style weapon.
“Our number one priority is like it’s always been since the early morning hours of this morning — late, late last night — to locate this suspect and put him behind bars where he belongs,” said Capers in a second news conference late Saturday afternoon. Capers added that the suspect “could be anywhere now.”
Authorities discovered the suspect’s cellphone and some clothes during the search, Capers said.
According to the sheriff, investigators think they have the firearm used in the crime.
Capers added, “We think we have that weapon, but we don’t know whether he’s carrying a smaller weapon or not.
There were ten individuals in the home, according to Capers, and no one else was hurt. He said that two of the dead, who were all thought to be Hondurans, were discovered inside lying over two young children.
During an earlier press conference at the scene, Capers remarked, “Everyone that was shot was shot from the neck up, almost execution-style.”
According to the sheriff, the victims were Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, Daniel Enrique Laso, 8, and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18.
He said that the suspect is still at large and is facing five murder charges in a lunchtime update on Saturday. Capers announced on social media that Judge Wells had issued an arrest warrant and a $5 million bail. He said that Texas Rangers were assisting the investigation on the spot.
According to Capers, three blood-covered toddlers were discovered in the residence, but after being transferred to a hospital, it was determined they were unharmed. “The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort to protect the child,” Capers stated.
Two more persons, according to Capers, were evaluated on the spot and then discharged.
Family members approached the fence and asked the suspect to cease firing shots before the altercation took place, according to Capers. Just after 11:30 p.m. on Friday, the sheriff’s office received a complaint of harassment from a resident of a house on Walter Drive in the Trails End community, according to CBS Houston KHOU-TV.
One resident of the home, according to Capers, managed to record a video showing the suspect approaching the front door while brandishing a weapon.
According to Capers, authorities had already visited the suspect’s house. “Deputies have come over and spoken with him about shooting his gun in the yard,” he said.
Capers said that some of the residents had just relocated from Houston earlier in the week, however he was unsure of their plans for the future.
Capers encouraged locals to exercise caution as the search went on Saturday. The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office has requested assistance from the FBI in finding the shooter from this morning’s incident. The FBI Houston office will provide further information, Capers said.
Just remain inside your home. Be cautious. Do not close your eyes. Speak out if you notice anything. Don’t forget to dial 911. With the image we’ve provided, call the sheriff’s office. This individual is highly dangerous, and he may be armed, according to him, the CBS Houston affiliate KHOU said.