Reward offered as manhunt for Texas shooting suspect reaches “dead end”
▶ Watch Video: Search underway for Texas gunman who killed 5
Authorities are hoping that an $80,000 reward will help locate a Texas man who allegedly shot his neighbors after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard. Officials said during a press conference Sunday that so far their search has yielded “zero leads.”
On Sunday afternoon, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers and FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge (SAC) James Smith held a press conference offering the latest updates in the search for 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa, who fled his Cleveland, Texas, home Friday night after allegedly shooting five people dead, including an 8-year-old boy.
Capers said there were over 200 officers searching for Oropesa, going door to door asking neighbors for any information that will lead to his arrest.
He said that Texas Governor 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, Smith said.
Smith implored people in the community to come forward with information, saying Oropesa has contacted some of his friends since the shooting.
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.”
Capers added that he has declined to attend prior engagements, including a vigil for the 8-year-old boy killed in the shooting, because his “main intent and focus is 100 percent capturing this suspect.”
“My heart is with this 8-year-old boy,” Capers said. “I don’t care if he was here illegally or legally, he was in my county. Five people died in my county, that is where my heart is, in my county protecting my people.”
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 as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. It’s unclear how they were related but they were all living in the same home, 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.