Texas shooting: Two women died protecting children who survived massacre sparked by noise complaint

Francisco Oropesa, allegedly intoxicated and armed with an AR-15 style rifle, stormed inside his neighbours’ home and fatally shot five people

Andrea Blanco
Thursday 04 May 2023 16:39 BST
5 killed, including 8-year-old in San Jacinto County, shooter at large

Two Texas women died while protecting children from a gunman who also killed three others, including an nine-year-old child.

The violence unfolded on Friday night when neighbours in the city of Cleveland, about an hour away from Houston, asked 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa to stop shooting rounds in his yard because they had sleeping children in the home, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.

Mr Oropesa, who is said to have been intoxicated and armed with an AR-15 style rifle, allegedly stormed inside his neighbours’ home and fatally shot five people and injured three others. The fatal victims, whose ages ranged from nine to 31, were originally from Honduras.

The gunman, identified as 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, shot his neighbours with an AR-15 style rifle (KHOU11)

Describing the devastating scene during an early press conference on Saturday, Sheriff Capers told reporters that deputies on the night shift responded to a “harassment call” that would later unfold in the massacre.

Inside a home on the 100 block of Walters Road, officers discovered four bodies with gunshots to the head and no signs of the suspect.

Two female victims were found in a bedroom, lying on top of two children who survived the ordeal, Sheriff Capers said.

“The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort as to protect the child,” the sheriff said, per the Washington Post.

A fifth victim, a nine-year-old child, died in hospital. The suspect fled the scene before authorities arrived.

Five dead, including eight-year-old, in Texas shooting

Authorities have said that a family member walked up to the fence and requested the gunman stopped shooting rounds in his own backyard. The suspect then allegedly responded that it was his property and the violence unfolded.

“The neighbours walked over and said … ‘Hey man, can you not do that, we’ve got an infant in here trying to sleep’ or whatever,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said, per the Washington Post. “They went back in their house and then we have a video of him walking up their driveway with his AR-15.”

The house where the massacre took place (AP)

Mr Oropesa is described as approximately 5’8” tall, last seen wearing blue jeans with a black shirt and work boots and with short black hair, ABC reported.

The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said that Oropesa “has been known to shoot his 223 out in his front yard, which is evident by the shell casings that are laying in the front yard”.

This article was amended on May 2 2023. It originally contained an incorrect spelling of the suspect’s name, as this was how the FBI initially identified him.

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