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Texas manhunt: Several arrests made in killings, deputy says

COLDSPRING, Texas (NewsNation) — Francisco Oropesa, the man accused of killing five people who was at the center of an urgent manhunt, and his wife were arrested in connection to the Texas killings Tuesday evening, according to a report.

San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office’s Chief Deputy Timothy Kean said early Wednesday morning that several people were arrested in connection to the crime. However, a Texas sheriff told The Associated Press that Oropesa’s wife was also taken into custody.

It is unclear if any other individuals were arrested in connection to the killings, or if it was just the suspect and his wife.

Oropesa, 38, was taken into custody Tuesday night in Montgomery County without incident, and Kean said the suspect will serve out his sentence in San Jacinto County Jail.

The FBI said they received a “one-time random tip” from someone with “courage and bravery” on Oropesa’s whereabouts at 5:15 p.m. U.S. Marshals, Texas DPS and Border Patrol’s BORTAC team responded to the home and arrested Oropesa at 6:30 p.m.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers announced that Oropesa, who he called a “coward,” has been charged with five counts of murder and will be held in San Jacinto County on a $5 million bond. Capers says Oropesa is uninjured.

Oropesa, fled Cleveland, Texas, after allegedly shooting and killing five of his neighbors, including a 9-year-old boy, Friday evening after one of his neighbors asked him to stop firing off his gun in his yard.

Investigators reported finding Oropesa in a closet underneath some laundry. The deputy sheriff said Oropesa had a connection to the house in which they discovered him but was unable to provide further details.

It is still unknown how many other people were arrested in connection to the crime, but Kean said it was no more than five people. No other people were in the house when the suspect was arrested, but one person “was close” to the house. Pending an ongoing investigation, Kean was unable to provide further details on the arrests.

Upon arrest, law enforcement discovered Oropesa had two working cellphones. Also, Kean said authorities believe they have the weapon Oropesa used but are waiting on ballistics to confirm.

The victims were between the ages of 9 and 31 years old and all were believed to be from Honduras. All were shot “from the neck up,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.

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, 9.

Tuesday evening, Capers shared a message with surviving loved ones of the victims: “They can rest easy now because he is behind bars and he will live out his life behind bars.”

The deadly shooting sparked a manhunt that included more than 200 law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions. The FBI received tips from across the country in states like Wyoming, Florida and Maryland.

Neighbors of the victims recently said the kind of reckless behavior like the shooting happens all the time and they don’t feel safe.

“You’ll hear full automatics all day long. It’s nothing new,” neighbor Dale Tiller said. “You would think in a small rural country town, ‘How could it be like that?’ It’s 100% like that.”

One of the five survivors called 911 at least five times to try to get law enforcement officers to the scene to stop Oropesa from shooting around before he even allegedly turned the gun on his neighbors. Law enforcement officers would not comment on the shooting response at a news conference Tuesday evening.

However, Kean said Wednesday morning that there was a patrol unit on an aggravated robbery call in the area at the time of the first 911 call.

“You have two bad things going on at once with one deputy on call,” Kean said.

He explained that at the time of the first call, the aggravated robbery trumped the initial reports of a man shooting his gun in his yard because it wasn’t an attack at that time. The deputy who responded to the aggravated robbery had to leave the robbery to respond to the second call that escalated to the shooting.

“This is not a rich county. We have three deputies to patrol this whole county,” Kean said. “It’s about half an hour drive from the jail to the scene.”

“We have poor roads, and we’re understaffed. Our response time for that area is excellent,” he said.

Kean estimated that the response to the call was between 11 and 14 minutes from when the call was dispatched. He explained that the country, they are short six of 32 sworn positions. For the jail, there are 28 positions and they are 11 short, which is just under half.

  • San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, left, walks to a news conference announcing the arrest of murder suspect Francisco Oropeza on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. Law enforcement officials captured Oropeza on Tuesday night at a home near Houston, ending a four-day manhunt for a suspect who police believe fled after a mass shooting that left five dead. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
  • San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers speaks to the media during a news conference announcing the arrest of murder suspect Francisco Oropeza on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. Law enforcement officials captured Oropeza on Tuesday night at a home near Houston, ending a four-day manhunt for a suspect who police believe fled after a mass shooting that left five dead. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
  • San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers speaks to the media surrounded by law enforcement officers during a news conference announcing the arrest of murder suspect Francisco Oropeza on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. Law enforcement officials captured Oropeza without incident on Tuesday night at a home near Houston, ending a four-day manhunt for a suspect who police believe fled after a mass shooting that left five dead. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
  • San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, left, and FBI assistant Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Paul speak to the media during a news conference announcing the arrest of murder suspect Francisco Oropeza on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 in Cleveland, Texas. Law enforcement officials captured Oropeza without incident on Tuesday night at a home near Houston, ending a four-day manhunt for a suspect who police believe fled after a mass shooting that left five dead. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)
  • This undated photo released by the FBI (Houston) shows Francisco Oropeza. A manhunt continues for Oropeza, who is accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors late Friday, April 28, 2023, in the rural community of Cleveland, Texas. (FBI via AP)
  • This undated photo released by the FBI (Houston) shows Francisco Oropeza. A manhunt continues for Oropeza, who is accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors late Friday, April 28, 2023, in the rural community of Cleveland, Texas. (Courtesy of the FBI via AP)
  • A Texas state trooper vehicle passes a posted wanted sign for a mass shooting suspect Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A state trooper vehicle passes a posted wanted sign for a mass shooting suspect Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A makeshift memorial is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A makeshift memorial is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A makeshift memorial is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A makeshift memorial is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • Maria Rodriguez places flowers Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • Maria Rodriguez places flowers Tuesday, May 2, 2023, outside the home where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • Items are removed from the victim’s home Tuesday, May 2, 2023, where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A man releases a balloon from the makeshift memorial outside the victims’ home Tuesday, May 2, 2023, where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas. The search for the suspected gunman who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a fourth day Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
  • A law enforcement officer stands at the perimeter set outside the San Jacinto County Jail after the suspected gunman in a mass shooting arrived Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Coldspring, Texas. Francisco Oropeza, who allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including a child, was captured Tuesday in Montgomery County and transferred to the jail Tuesday night. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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