The man accused of shooting and killing five of his neighbors, including a 3rd grader, last week in San Jacinto County after he was asked to stop shooting his gun is still on the loose. We are learning more about Francisco Oropesa’s background.
Oropesa is a Mexican national and has been deported from the United States four times. The last time was in 2016, and his current immigration status is still unclear.
The 38-year-old was convicted of driving while intoxicated back in 2012 in Montgomery County and was sentenced to serve time in jail, records show.
Tuesday marks day four of an ongoing search for the suspected mass shooter.
Many people who live in that same San Jacinto County neighborhood say that gunshots are pretty common, as people go out and shoot on their property. But none of them thought something like this would happen.
Stunned neighbors created a memorial for the victims who include a mother and her young son, two other women, and an 18-year-old man.
Their names were Sonia Argentina Guzmán Taibot, Daniel Enrique Lazo Guzmán, Diana Velasquez Alvarado, Obdulia Molina Rivera, and Josué Jonatan Cáceres.
On Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott called them illegal immigrants in a tweet.
I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday. Also directed #OperationLoneStar to be on the lookout.
I continue working with state & local officials to ensure all available resources are deployed to respond. pic.twitter.com/SpkUgKqKGe
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 30, 2023
It turns out they may not be.
Reporters spoke with Jefrinson Josué Rivera, the longtime partner of Velasquez Alvarado. Josué Rivera said she was a lawful resident, calling Abbott “inhumane” for referring to the victims in that way.
He said he has the following questions for the governor — “Why do they discriminate against immigrants so much( question mark) In what way are we affecting him? What harm have we caused him? He’s making his living, and we’re here to make our own. We don’t care if he wants to make his money through politics, we’re here to make an honorable living.”
A spokesperson for Abbott appeared to walk back the governor’s comment in a statement to ABC News on Monday afternoon, claiming that authorities had told them the suspect and victims were in the country illegally.
“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,” Renae Eze said in a statement.
A woman who lives near to the shooting scene told reporters that police found a shirt and cellphone they say belong to Oropesa on her property.
They found the items on Saturday and the woman’s home was raided to make sure he wasn’t inside.
“It’s been very scary. No sleep. We can’t go out because I’m scared of anything driving around. That something could happen,” she said.
Law enforcement is asking anyone who may spot the suspect to report it immediately.