HOUSTON — A man shot dead five neighbours including an 8-year-old boy after some of them had asked him to stop shooting a semiautomatic rifle in his front yard in Cleveland, Texas, because it was keeping their baby awake, police said yesterday.
Police were still looking for the suspect, who used an AR-15-style rifle in the shooting late inside the neighbours’ home on Friday, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.
Sheriffs deputies were joined by FBI agents as they continued searching for the suspect, Francisco Oropeza, 38, in a nearby wooded area 18 hours after the attack, Capers said.
”We are tracking him with dogs and men on horseback and drones in the air,” Capers said. Law enforcement had found an abandoned cellphone and some discarded clothing in the search area, Capers said.
He was quoted as saying by other news outlets that all the victims were shot in the head “almost execution-style.”
Police said all five victims were from Honduras.
Officials from Capers’ office received a call from Cleveland, which is located about 45 miles north of Houston, about harassment at around 11.31pm. When they reached the scene they found several victims who had been shot, Capers said.
There were a total of 10 people in the house when the attack took place, Capers said, five of whom survived.
The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. They were all believed to be living in the house, but were not members of a single family, according to the FBI.
Enrique Reina, the foreign minister of Honduras, said the Honduran consulate was in contact with the authorities in Texas.
”We demand that the full weight of the law be applied against the person responsible for this crime,” he wrote on Twitter.
The suspect stepped out of his house on Friday night and started shooting off rounds in his yard, which is when some of the victims stepped out to confront him, Capers said.
”The man walked over to the fence, said ‘Hey, we’re trying to keep the baby asleep in here,’” Capers said.
Both parties then went back to their houses. Oropeza “topped off his magazine, and walked down his driveway” onto the street then “into the people’s house and started shooting, Capers said.
Police had been called to Oropeza’s house on a couple of previous occasions over complaints about noise he was making shooting his gun in his yard, Capers said. — Reuters