SAN JACINTO COUNTY, Texas — A manhunt is underway for a gunman accused of killing five people, including an 8-year-old boy, at a home in San Jacinto County, according to Sheriff Greg Capers.
The incident started as a harassment call to the sheriff’s office just after 11:30 p.m. Friday night at a home on Walter Drive in the Trails End subdivision. Capers said it immediately turned into a shooting.
According to Capers, they found multiple people shot around the home. Ten people were inside the home at the time of the shooting.
Officials identified the victims Saturday afternoon as the following:
- Sonia Guzmán, 28
- Diana Velásquez, 21
- Obdulia Molina, 31
- Jonathan Cáceres, 18
- Daniel Enrique Lazo, 9
Editor's note: Authorities initially said Daniel Lazo was 8. There have been discrepancies in the spelling and ages of the victims. We are using names and ages supplied to us by the Honduran government on Monday, May 1. Previous reporting used spelling and ages supplied earlier in the investigation by the Houston office of the FBI.
It's unclear how or if the victims are related. They were all living under the same roof.
We're told four people were dead at the scene and that the 9-year-old died at the hospital. Three others were found covered in blood inside the home, but none of them were injured.
Investigators said the shooter, 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, was confronted by neighbors and asked to stop shooting because they had a young child who was trying to sleep. Oropeza responded by saying he would do what he wants on his property.
Watch officials give an update Saturday evening:
"The next thing they know, he's walking up the driveway with a rifle in hand," Capers said.
Nearby residents said it's common for people in the area to shoot guns on their property.
"There is a lot of people here that like to shoot guns. It was just a matter of time before sometime like this happens," one resident said.
According to Capers, Oropeza escaped the area after the shooting. Several guns were recovered from his home by a SWAT team. At one point, they believed Oropeza was cornered in a wooded area near the scene but later said the search is still ongoing. The search area is now as large as 10 to 20 miles.
“He could be anywhere now," Capers said at a media briefing Saturday evening.
Officials were able to recover the suspect's cell phone, abandoned clothes and the rifle used in the shooting. They believe he may still be armed and should be considered dangerous. The sheriff said they are using dogs and drones to search for Oropeza.
"Just stay in your house," Capers said. "Be vigilant. Keep your eyes open. If you see anything, say something...this man is very dangerous and he is armed, potentially."
Capers said Oropeza was known to shoot his rifle in the front yard and that they've had numerous calls to the area. The sheriff's office said he has been charged with five counts of murder.
The FBI said it's assisting in the search for Oropeza.
“The FBI has brought in investigative resources, tactical and victims services resources to assist in this investigation," said FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith. "He is out there and he is a threat to the community, so I don’t want anyone to think something different than that"
If you see Oropeza, you're asked to call 911 and not take matters into your own hands.