Multiple Texas agencies still searching for man accused of killing 5 people near Houston
AUSTIN, Texas - The man accused of killing five people in Cleveland, Texas, a rural town outside of Houston, still hasn’t been found.
Although, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of men, possibly matching the description of Francisco Oropesa, in the area. Law enforcement said they searched and investigated the areas, and have yet to find Oropesa.
The Texas House of Representatives held a moment of silence at the Capitol to honor the five lives lost in the mass shooting Friday, April 28, just North of Houston.
RELATED: Texas shooting: 5 killed, including 8-year-old in San Jacinto County, shooter still missing
Two mothers died.
"They died defending their children," survivor Jefrinson Rivera said.
Another victim was an eight-year-old boy.
"You took somebody's life. He's not going to be able to grow up to be nobody because he took his life," Norma Huerta said who attended the vigil on Sunday.
The victims have been identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, 8.
Governor Abbott originally called the victims and the suspect "illegal immigrants."
CLEVELAND, TX - APRIL 29: Law enforcement search for the suspect a few miles from the scene where five people, including an 8-year-old child, were killed after a shooting inside a home on April 29, 2023 in Cleveland, Texas. The alleged gunman, who is not yet in custody, used an AR-15-style rifle to shoot his neighbors which also left at least three others injured. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)
Texas Democratic Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa responded in a statement:
"There is no limit to the depravity of Greg Abbott and his Texas Republican cronies. To use a mass shooting, in which five innocent souls were slaughtered execution-style – including an 8-year-old – to fearmonger and lie about migrants and the victims’ immigration status… this type of sick behavior is truly beyond the pale.
It might be hard for Republicans to believe, but neither the immigration status of the shooter nor the victims has literally one iota of relevance right now. What matters is that (1) this gunman is still at large, (2) a Texas community is once again devastated by a mass shooting and needs Texans’ love and prayers, and (3) we will continue living in fear so long as we continue to allow our streets to be flooded with battlefield-ready weapons.
Enough is enough. Getting an AR-15 is too damn easy in this state. No one can sensibly say that someone this evil should have been able to get their hands on this gun – or any gun. We need gun safety reform in this state – and we need it right now. We’re in the middle of the legislative session as we speak, there is no excuse. Do your job, Governor. Do something."
On May 1, Governor Abbott retracted his statement after learning one of the victims was, in fact, in the U.S. legally.
"We continue working with federal, state, and local officials to provide all available resources to catch and arrest the Cleveland mass shooter, including a combined $80,000 in rewards from state, local, and federal agencies for information. Any loss of life is a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families who have lost a loved one. Following the horrific shooting on Friday night, federal officials provided the state of Texas information on the criminal and the victims, including that they were in the country illegally. We've since learned that at least one of the victims may have been in the United States legally. We regret if the information was incorrect and detracted from the important goal of finding and arresting the criminal. The true focus remains on catching this heinous criminal who killed five innocent people and bringing the full weight of Texas law against him. For those with any information, please call the Texas Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 252-TIPS (800-252-8477)."
RELATED: Texas Mass Shooting: Governor's office retracts statement about immigration status for one of the victims
"My heart is with this eight-year-old little boy. I don't care if he was here legally. I don't care if he was here illegally. He was in my county. Five people died in my county," San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.
The man accused of killing them is 38-year-old Mexican National Francisco Oropesa. Authorities said he shot his neighbors execution style with an AR-15 after they asked him to stop firing rounds outside his home because their baby was sleeping.
After the shooting, Oropesa went on the run. Multiple agencies are searching for him.
"It's a horrific crime and I can assure you and the American People that law enforcement will deliver accountability," U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
Sheriff Capers said though they haven’t located Oropesa yet, they did find a cell phone and clothing they were looking for.
"Right now, we're going door to door with these 200 officers, they're going door to door, knocking on people's houses, asking questions, looking for tips," Sheriff Capers said.
A combined reward of $80,000 dollars is available for tips that lead to Oropesa’s arrest. The FBI warned he could be armed and dangerous.