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Mexican National with History of Deportation Arrested for Shooting 5 Honduran Neighbors in Texas

Francisco Oropesa Perez-Torres, a Mexican national, has been taken into custody after a multiday manhunt for fatally shooting five of his neighbors, including a mother and her 9-year-old son, in Cleveland, Texas.[0] The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and her son Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, 9; Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and José Jonathan Cásarez, 18.[1] All the victims were Honduran nationals. Oropesa had entered the US illegally and had been deported by immigration officials at least four times since 2009.[2] An immigration judge first removed him in March 2009 before he was deported again in September 2009, January 2012, and July 2016.[3] Oropesa was arrested after a tip was submitted through the FBI’s tip line, leading authorities to his location. He was found hiding in a closet, underneath some laundry.[3] Oropesa is facing charges of five murders and a bond of $5 million.[4]

The shooting happened after neighbors asked Oropesa to stop shooting his AR-15 in his yard because a newborn was trying to sleep. According to the father of the newborn, he and two others had walked over to Oropesa’s yard to ask him to stop shooting so close to their home because his baby was sleeping. They’d asked Oropesa to shoot on the other side of his property.[2] However, Oropesa allegedly approached the victims’ home and started shooting.[1] Garcia said his wife and 9-year-old son were killed.[5] Two of the victims were found in a bedroom shielding two young children with their bodies. Two female victims were discovered in the bedroom lying on top of two surviving children.

Oropesa’s wife had filed a protective order against him last year, alleging he beat her, and a San Jacinto County District Attorney said that their records showed that Oropesa had kicked his wife on her backside and in the face and mouth. She had called the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office to report Oropesa was drunk and had physically assaulted her on June 14.[6] In a sworn statement, his wife said Oropesa hit her with a closed fist, kicked her on the floor, and threatened her. She said he’d attacked her once before, about 11 years earlier.[5]

The Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, tweeted in response to the arrest, “Great job by law enforcement.” However, he was criticized by some for referring to the victims as “illegal immigrants” in his statement, reducing their still-unburied bodies to the misdemeanors that some of them, perhaps, once committed—all in service of his political project.[7]

0. “Man accused of killing 5 people in Cleveland, Texas is in custody” CBS News, 3 May. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/texas/news/man-accused-of-killing-5-people-in-cleveland-texas-is-in-custody

1. “Cleveland, Texas, mass shooting: What we know” Axios, 30 Apr. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/04/30/cleveland-texas-mass-shooting-what-we-know

2. “Texas massacre suspect in custody after dayslong manhunt, found hiding in closet, sheriff says” CNN, 3 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/02/us/cleveland-texas-neighbor-shooting-fugitive-tuesday/index.html

3. “Suspect accused of gunning down 5 in Texas taken into custody” ABC News, 3 May. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-believed-suspect-accused-gunning-5-texas-custody/story?id=98982029

4. “Texas manhunt for Francisco Oropesa: Sources say gunman has been arrested in Cleveland area” FOX 4 News Dallas-Fort Worth, 3 May. 2023, https://www.fox4news.com/news/texas-manhunt-for-francisco-oropesa-sources-say-gunman-has-been-arrested-in-cleveland-area

5. “Suspect in massacre of 5 neighbors in Texas allegedly beat his wife last year, prosecutor says” NBC News, 2 May. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/suspect-massacre-5-neighbors-texas-allegedly-beat-wife-2022-prosecutor-rcna82550

6. “WATCH LIVE: Authorities set to provide update on suspected gunman involved in San Jacinto Co. murders” KPRC Click2Houston, 3 May. 2023, https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2023/05/03/person-believed-to-be-the-man-accused-of-killing-5-neighbors-in-texas-is-apprehended-after-manhunt/

7. “Greg Abbott Wants You to Know the Mass Shooting Victims Were No Angels – Mother Jones” Mother Jones, 1 May. 2023, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/05/greg-abbott-wants-you-to-know-the-mass-shooting-victims-were-no-angels/