Shooting massacre suspect found hiding under a pile of laundry

US News

A man suspected of killing five neighbours in Texas has been arrested following a four-day manhunt.

The search for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza began on Friday after he fled from the scene of the shooting in the rural town of Cleveland.

He was found hiding underneath a pile of laundry, in the town of Cut and Shoot, roughly 17 miles (27km) from his home after officers responded to a tip.

The attacks took place after his neighbours asked him to stop firing off rounds in his garden late at night because a baby was trying to sleep.

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The victims clockwise from top left: Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and her son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9; and Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21. Pic: GoFundMe
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The victims clockwise from top left: Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and her son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9; and Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21. Pic: GoFundMe

Wilson Garcia, the father of the one-month-old who had been crying before the shooting, described the moments that Oropeza came into his family home, first shooting his wife then his nine-year-old son.

“He just walked in shooting. He didn’t say anything. He shot her, and the door was wide open. He walks in, room by room, shooting at us,” he said.

The gunman’s victims were all from Honduras and have been identified as Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 9.

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“They can rest easy now, because he is behind bars,” County Sheriff Greg Capers said of the families of the victims.

“He will live out his life behind bars for killing those five.”

Francisco Oropeza. Pic: FBI Houston
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Pic: FBI Houston

Republican governor Greg Abbott faced a backlash over drawing attention to the victims’ immigration status. He offered a $50,000 (£40,000) reward over the weekend for any tips that may have led to the gunman being caught.

A further $80,000 (£64,000) in reward money was offered for information regarding the whereabouts of Oropeza, while more than 250 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies made up the search team.

Tributes outside home of Texas mass shooting
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Tributes outside the home of the victims

The father of one of the victims, Osman Velasquez, said on Tuesday that his daughter had recently got residency in the US after having travelled to the country without documents eight years ago.

“Her sister convinced me to let her take my daughter. She told me the United States is a country of opportunities, and that’s true,” he said.

“But I never imagined it was just for this.”

It also emerged that Oropeza had been deported from the US four times, most recently in July 2016.

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