FBI searching nationwide and “across the border” for Texas mass shooting suspect
HOUSTON, Texas (CBS NEWS) - Authorities are taking their search across the border as the manhunt for the Texas man who allegedly shot his neighbors after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard intensifies.
On Tuesday, the FBI said they were continuing their widespread search for 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa, who fled his Cleveland, Texas, home Friday night after allegedly shooting five people dead, including a 9-year-old boy.
“Francisco Oropesa could be anywhere,” FBI Houston tweeted. “The FBI is working with law enforcement agencies across the state, country, and across the border. We’re leaving no stone unturned. If anyone has any photos or security camera video they’d like law enforcement to see, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
The FBI also posted Oropesa’s mugshot and a photo of a tattoo he has on his forearm of a woman with a headpiece.
The FBI said they are combing through hundreds of pieces of evidence and utilizing all available resources to apprehend Oropesa.
“Law enforcement officials are analyzing hundreds of pieces of information from all over related to #ClevelandTXshooting,”FBI Houston tweeted. “Officials are out on foot, in vehicles & inside mobile command centers using all available human & technological resources to gather intelligence, and pursue tips.”
On Sunday, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said that Texas Gov. Greg Abbot has offered $50,000 for his capture, and other counties have chipped in $5,000 for a total of $55,000. With the FBI offering $25,000, the total reward money rose to $80,000, FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith said.
A Mexican national, Oropesa was ordered removed by a U.S. immigration judge and deported by ICE agents in Houston in 2009. After re-entering the country, he was apprehended and removed again several times over the next seven years, CBS News has learned. Oropesa has a prior conviction in Montgomery County, Texas, for driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to serve time in jail for the offense.
On Sunday, Smith said the search has run into dead ends and authorities have “no idea” where he could be and have “zero leads.” He said authorities are hoping the large reward can act as an incentive for someone to come forward with any tips.
“We cannot continue down this path until we get him apprehended and arrested,” he said. “We’re asking everyone to bring this monster to justice.”
The attack happened near the town of Cleveland, north of Houston, on a street where some residents say neighbors often unwind by firing off guns.
A confrontation followed the neighbors walking up to the fence and asking the suspect to stop shooting rounds, Capers said. The suspect responded by telling them that it was his property, Capers said, and one person in the house got a video of the suspect walking up to the front door with the rifle.
The victims were identified by the Honduran Foreign Ministry as Sonia Guzman, 28; Diana Velasquez, 21; Obdulia Molina, 31; Jonathan Caceres, 18, and Daniel Enrique Lazo, 9. It’s unclear how they were related but they were all living in the same house, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU reported.
Capers said there were 10 people in the house — some of whom had just moved there earlier in the week — but that no one else was injured. He said two of the victims were found in a bedroom laying over two children in an apparent attempt to shield them.
Three children were found covered in blood in the home and were taken to a hospital, but they were uninjured, Capers said. On Sunday he said the children were safe with family members.
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