| 11 December 2023, Monday |

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

Police apprehended a man accused of killing five Texas neighbors and leading numerous agencies on a four-day search on Tuesday after a tip led them to a residence in a neighbouring town where he was discovered hiding behind laundry, officials said.

On Friday, neighbors urged the suspect to cease firing his semiautomatic gun in his yard because it was keeping their infant awake. Instead, the guy reloaded and entered the home of Honduran immigrants next door, murdering five people, including an eight-year-old kid, according to officials.

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

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters that officials acted on a tip from an unidentified person who would now be eligible for an $80,000 reward offered for information leading to his arrest.

“He is behind bars, and he will live out his life behind bars for killing those five,” Capers said, adding that Oropesa would be held on $5 million bail for five counts of murder.

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. Both are about 50 miles (80 km) north of Houston.

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

As of Sunday, the suspect’s trail had grown cold, but multiple agencies rapidly mobilized, joining the sheriff’s department and the FBI, upon receiving the tip.

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, said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Paul.

Most of the victims were shot in the head. All were from Honduras and among the 10 people 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.

  • Reuters