Authorities said Sunday they do not know the location of Francisco Oropesa, the man suspected of killing five of his neighbors, including an 8-year-old, with an AR-15 rifle on Friday in Cleveland, Texas, as the nation grapples with another mass shooting—here’s what we know about the alleged gunman.
In a press conference, FBI special agent-in-charge James Smith said there are “zero leads” as to Oropesa’s whereabouts and “we’re running into dead ends,” as local, state and federal authorities offer an $80,000 award for information leading to his arrest.
Oropesa, 38, lived in the Trails End area of Cleveland, a small city with about 8,000 residents north of Houston, and is accused of shooting to death five of his neighbors when he was asked to stop shooting a rifle in his yard because a baby was sleeping.
Oropesa is a Mexican citizen and is married—his wife has been interviewed by authorities.
Deputies had previously come over to Oropesa’s home and spoken “with him about him shooting his gun in the yard,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.
Police believe Oropesa has since fled San Jacinto County and is “presumed to be armed and dangerous,” the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday—while the gun allegedly used in the killings has been seized, Oropesa may be carrying another weapon, as others were located in his home, Capers said.
Oropesa is believed to be traveling on foot; clothes and a phone were located in a forest, Capers said Saturday, though he was last seen wearing a black shirt, jeans and work boots.
Capers said Sunday “well over 200” police officers are currently searching for Oropesa, and authorities were going door-to-door in their search, though Smith acknowledged Sunday police still don’t know if he’s still in the area.
$5 million. That’s how large the bond on Oropesa has been assigned to. An arrest warrant for him has been issued, and he faces five counts of murder.
His last name was previously spelled as Oropeza, but authorities said Sunday they are using Oropesa “to better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems.”
At 11:30 p.m. on Friday, neighbors asked Oropesa to stop shooting his rifle. Oropesa—who Capers says had been drinking prior to the shooting—allegedly responded that it was his property. He was pictured walking up to the property where the shooting took place carrying a rifle. The victims, all from Honduras, are Daniel Enrique Laso, 8, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and Diana Julisa Molina Rivera, 31. Two of the victims were found laying over two children to protect them. All were shot in the head “execution style,” Capers said.
There have been 183 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Sunday is the 120th day of 2023.
Police manhunt continues for suspect in Texas mass shooting (Associated Press)
Man who killed 5 neighbors in Texas ‘could be anywhere,’ sheriff says (NBC News)
As the small Texan town of Odessa reels from a devastating early-August mass shooting, police and investigators are still searching for leads on the perpetrator of the attack.
On August 3rd, a man opened fire at a car dealership in Odessa, Texas, killing five and wounding dozens more before being shot by police. Investigators are still attempting to find predecessors to the mass shooting, but so far they have “zero leads” on the suspect’s identity.
Odessa police Chief Michael Gerke identified the suspect as 36-year-old Seth A. Ator. Police believe Ator possessed an “AR-type weapon,” and no information has been released as to where he obtained the weapon.
Gerke also said Ator’s motive is still unknown. He had recently been fired from his job, but officials are not sure if this had to do with the attack. Officers found several firearms in his vehicle, but they have not determined whose the guns belong to.
The shooting began after one officer from the Texas Department of Public Safety attempted to make a traffic stop on Ator. Ator then fired shots at the officer with a rifle and drove off in his vehicle. According to Gerke, eyewitnesses reported the gunman going “block to block” and shooting at random people.
He continued shooting as he left the parking lot of the car dealership, where he was ultimately shot and killed by police.
The victims of the attack range from older individuals to younger children. Several victims were treated for gunshot wounds at local hospitals.
According to Gerke, when the attack stopped, “The death toll could have been much higher here.”
In order to remember the victims, Odessa held a large memorial service on August 7th, displaying a makeshift memorial of balloons and mementos. The service was attended by Governor Greg Abbott, who called the attack “senseless violence” and said “There are no red or blue solutions to this, only a Texas solution.”
At this time, police have not released any information on potential suspects or leads in the attack.
In the face of this tragedy, the Odessa community is coming together and attempting to move forward despite the tragedy that has struck their town.