Texas gunman kills five neighbours including child, 9, after noise complaint, authorities say

Francisco Oropesa, 38, is accused opening fire on his neighbours after a complaint about him shooting in his yard, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said

Andrea Blanco,Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Monday 01 May 2023 23:09 BST
5 killed, including 8-year-old in San Jacinto County, shooter at large

A Texas man killed five people, including a nine-year-old child.

Four people were pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting and the fifth died at a hospital in Cleveland, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said early Saturday.

The gunman, identified as 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa, shot his neighbours with an AR-15 style rifle after they asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard because they were trying to sleep, authorities said on Saturday. Mr Oropesa fled the scene after the violence, but has since been surrounded by law enforcement, NPR reports.

“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,” 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 suspect has not been apprehended and it is unclear where in Texas he has been located. An earlier press release by the SJCSO stated that he was believed to have fled the country but more recent reports suggest he is in the Houston-Cleveland area.

The deceased, who ranged in age from nine to early forties, were originally from Honduras. Authorities at the scene told reporters that Mr Oropesa, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, had been deported at least twice before the tragedy on Friday night, according to Univision 45 Houston.

The shooting was reported at around 10.30pm on the 100 block of Walters Road in the Trails End area in the community about 45 miles (72 kilometres) northeast of Houston. Night shift patrol deputies were dispatched to a residence in reference to a harassment complaint.

On their way there, they received multiple 911 calls of an active shooter incident at the dispatch location. Three children covered in blood were transported to the hospital, where they were determined to be uninjured, while two other witnesses at the scene were evaluated by first responders and released.

The suspect remains on the loose as officers continue their search (KPRC 2)

The youngest victim of the shooting was nine years old. Two female victims were found in the bedroom lying on top of two children who survived the ordeal, the report added.

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

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

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.

Scene of mass shooting in Cleveland, Texas, where a man is accused of killing five, including an nine-year-old child, after they asked him to stop firing his gun outside (AP)

One of the survivors reportedly caught the moment the suspect walked into the house with the rifle on video.

The suspect 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 SJCSO also 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”.

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