Man kills 5 in Texas after family complains about gunshots
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas man walked next door with a rifle and began shooting his neighbors, killing an 8-year-old and four others in the home after family asked him to stop shooting rounds in his garden because they were trying to sleep, authorities said on Saturday.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters at the scene that authorities are still looking for 39-year-old Francisco Oropeza after the night’s shooting in the city of Cleveland, about 45 miles north of Houston. He said Oropeza used an AR-style rifle in the shooting.
“Everyone who was shot was shot from the neck up, almost execution style,” Capers said during an earlier news conference at the scene.
Capers said 10 people were inside and that no one else was injured. He said two of the victims, all believed to be from Honduras, were found inside lying on top of two children.
“The Honduran ladies who laid on these children did so to protect the child,” said Capers, who said a total of three children covered in blood were found in the home but were determined not to be injured after being taken to a hospital .
Capers said two other people were examined at the scene and released.
The confrontation followed family members who went to the fence and demanded the suspect stop shooting, Capers said. The suspect responded by telling them that Capers said it was his property and that someone in the house had video of the suspect walking to the front door with the gun.
Three of the victims were women and one was a man. Their names have not been published. Capers said the victims ranged in age from 8 to about 40 years old.
According to Capers, authorities were previously at the suspect’s home. “MPs came over and spoke to him about the fact that he fired his gun in the courtyard,” he said.
Capers said some of the home’s residents moved out of Houston earlier in the week, but he doesn’t know if they plan to stay.
The US is seeing a record pace of mass killings this year, with at least 18 shootings since Jan. 1 that have killed four or more people. The violence is triggered by a range of motives: homicide-suicide and domestic violence; gang retaliation; School shootings and workplace vendettas.
Associated Press writer Ken Miller contributed to this report.