Texas Suspect in Killing of 5 People Is Illegal Immigrant Deported Multiple Times

Texas Suspect in Killing of 5 People Is Illegal Immigrant Deported Multiple Times
The suspect, identified as 38-year old Francisco Oropesa, in an undated photo provided by law enforcement. (FBI Houston)
Tom Ozimek
5/1/2023
Updated:
5/1/2023
0:00

The suspect who shot and killed five people in Cleveland, Texas—including an 8-year-old child—is an illegal immigrant who had been deported from the United States multiple times, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

An ICE spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the suspect in the slaying—Mexican national Francisco Oropesa—was arrested and deported four times from the United States, most recently in July 2016.

Oropesa also was convicted in Montgomery County, Texas, in 2012 for driving while intoxicated and sentenced to time in jail, the spokesperson added.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wouldn’t comment on Oropesa’s immigration status when asked during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 30, citing an “active case.”

Mayorkas called the crime “just absolutely horrific.”

The 38-year-old Oropesa was allegedly told to stop firing a rifle in his yard because a baby was trying to sleep, according to the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect then allegedly opened fire, killing five people, including an 8-year-old, during the early hours of April 29.

Oropesa remains a fugitive and is considered armed and dangerous.

Reward

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the fugitive, who Abbott said is in the country illegally.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the five victims that were taken in this senseless act of violence,” Abbott said in a statement on April 30.

Abbott noted that the victims, a family from Honduras, also were in the country illegally.

Abbott also says he has directed relevant authorities to alert state troopers and National Guard members who are part of Operation Lone Star to be on the lookout for the fugitive, who may be attempting to flee the country.

“I continue working with state and local officials to ensure they have all available resources to respond to this horrific crime,” he said.

In an update posted on social media early on May 1, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s office said that law enforcement is still actively seeking Oropesa.

“Several dozen law enforcement officials are currently investigating leads and intel as it becomes available, as well as continuing to examine the area,“  Sheriff Greg Capers said in a statement. ”We ask that the general public limit traffic to the area while law enforcement works to capture the suspect.”

In an earlier post, Capers asked for tips from the public while warning people that Oropesa is considered armed and dangerous and shouldn’t be approached.

Abbott’s $50,000 reward brings the total offered by state and federal agencies for tips leading to the suspect’s capture to $80,000.

The Shooting

Shooting survivor Wilson Garcia told The Associated Press that he was one of those who went to Oropesa’s house late on April 28 to ask him to shoot his gun farther away from his home.

“He told us he was on his property, and he could do what he wanted,” Garcia said on April 30 after a vigil in Cleveland, Texas, for his 8-year-old son who was killed in the attack.

Garcia said that he called the police after Oropesa rejected his request.

After Garcia walked back from Oropesa’s house, he said he saw Oropesa run toward him and reload.

“I told my wife: ‘Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon,” Garcia told the outlet. “My wife told me to go inside because ‘he won’t fire at me, I’m a woman.’”

The shooter then reportedly walked up to Garcia’s home and began firing; Garcia’s 25-year-old wife was the first fatality. Among the dead was Garcia’s young son and two women who died while shielding his baby and 2-year-old daughter with their bodies.

There were 15 people in the house that night, according to the report, with Garcia saying the shooter seemed intent on killing as many as he could.

Police have recovered the AR-15-style rifle Oropesa allegedly used in the shootings.

This article has been updated with information received from ICE.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.
twitter