Francisco Oropesa, 38, the illegal alien who allegedly murdered a family of five people late last month, has finally been apprehended after a four-day manhunt.
“A tip called into an FBI line at 5:15 p.m. led to Oropesa’s arrest at 6:30 p.m., Jimmy Paul, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston field office, said at a news conference,” according to NBC News.
He was reportedly arrested near Houston without incident while hiding underneath a pile of laundry in the closet of a home. It’s not clear who owns the home.
The Associated Press notes that he was arrested roughly 20 miles away from his home in Cleveland, Texas, which is where he allegedly killed his neighbors on April 28th.
Francisco Oropesa Captured in Montgomery County https://t.co/bIQYq0QZ5U pic.twitter.com/8nwhn6XwxI
— MCTXSheriff (@MCTXSheriff) May 3, 2023
The AP further notes that Oropesa’s arrest has ended a “widening dragnet that had grown to more than 250 people from multiple jurisdictions.”
“Drones and scent-tracking dogs had been used during the widening manhunt, which included combing a heavily wooded forest a few miles from the scene. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott offered a $50,000 reward as the search dragged late into the weekend, while others offered an additional $30,000 in reward money,” according to the AP.
Indeed, as recently as Tuesday morning, the FBI reportedly said he “could be anywhere,” meaning they got very lucky in receiving the 5:15 pm tip.
This is footage from the arrest of Fransisco Oropesa. We’ve learned he was arrested by BORTAC agents, they are the special operations group of the Border Patrol. pic.twitter.com/jGOKoqBxhT
— FOX26Houston (@FOX26Houston) May 3, 2023
Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) in a joint operation with other law enforcement
just caught Francisco Oropesa, the man wanted for killing five innocent people in Cleveland, Texas.
God bless our Law Enforcement. #HonorFirst pic.twitter.com/CfTRkaCai4
— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores2022) May 3, 2023
“They can rest easy now, because he is behind bars. He will live out his life behind bars for killing those five,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said, referencing the families of the victims.
As previously reported, the April 28th altercation began with the family asking an allegedly drunken Oropesa if he could stop shooting his AR-15 outside because their baby was sleeping.
In response, he reportedly stormed into his neighbor’s home and opened fire, killing Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; and Jonathan Casarez, 18. Daniel Enrique Lase, 8, initially survived but died later at a nearby hospital.
Note that some of the adults died while shielding other young children who did survive and were taken to the hospital.
MANHUNT: Suspect in Texas slaughter of 5 is three-time deported illegal immigrant from Mexico https://t.co/1kbhkhBG8D via @americanwire_
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) May 1, 2023
Family members of the victims, Jefferson Rivera and Wilson Garcia, spoke to local station KRIV after the shooting.
“This tragedy that unfolded, he had no right. We never offended him. We never disrespected him,” Rivera said.
As noted earlier, Oropesa was allegedly drunk and shooting off an AR-15 outside his home when his neighbors asked him to stop.
“I told my wife to go inside because he had loaded the gun,” Garcia said.
Oropesa then forced himself inside the house and shot Garcia’s wife, Sonya.
“That’s when my friend told me to run. ‘Sonya is dead. You have two kids. Run. We will take care of ourselves.’ So, that’s when I went through the window,” the grieving man explained.
When Garcia returned a short time later, Oropesa was still inside the home.
“That’s when the suspect shot at me. He shot at me five times behind my house. When he didn’t catch me, he returned to gun them down again and shot them in the head,” Garcia said.
Here are the newest images of Francisco Oropesa and a prominent tattoo on his left forearm.
Going forward, the subject’s last name will be spelled “Oropesa” to better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems. This remains a fluid investigation. #ClevelandTXShooting pic.twitter.com/ZWUu0FqoMF
— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) April 30, 2023
Alvarado’s father, Osmán Velásquez, told the AP that his daughter, a Honduran national, “had recently gotten residency and had traveled to the United States without documents eight years ago with the help of a sister, who was already living there,” according to the AP.
“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. But I never imagined it was just for this,” he told the AP.
What remains unclear is how Oropesa had managed to evade the authorities for so many days.
“Searchers found his cellphone and some of his clothing Saturday, but scent-tracking dogs eventually lost his trail. Capers also said that authorities seized the rifle used in the attack but that Oropesa may have still been armed with a handgun,” according to NBC News.
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