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Man who lost his wife and son in San Jacinto County shootings talks about how he got out alive

A vigil was held Sunday night for 9-year-old Daniel Lazo, who was shot and killed alongside his mother. Police are still searching for the accused shooter.

CLEVELAND, Texas — Hundreds of law enforcement officers are looking for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza. He's accused of killing five people, including a 9-year-old boy, in San Jacinto County.

Oropeza's photos have been released by the FBI and there's currently an $80,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest.

On Sunday night, about two days after the shootings, a vigil was held at the Cleveland school where Daniel Enrique Lazo went to school.

Editor's note: 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.

Daniel was a third-grader at Northside Elementary. Classes will be held at Northside on Monday. Counseling resources will be provided.

Daniel's father, Wilson Garcia, lost his son and his wife in the incident.

"My wife died and so did my 9-year-old son. What can I say, I am trying to stay strong for my children. My daughter kind of understands things. It's hard when she comes to me and starts asking for her mom and her brother," Garcia said.

He was in the house at the time of the shootings but got out when a woman warned him and told him to save himself.

"She told me to throw myself out of the window because my children were already without a mother," Garcia said.

Oropeza is accused of going on the shooting rampage after the victims asked him to stop firing his gun on his property so their baby could sleep.

“He told us he was on his property, and he could do what he wanted,” Garcia said Sunday.

Garcia called the police after Oropeza rejected his request. The man shot some more, and now it sounded louder. In the neighborhood of homes on 1-acre lots, Garcia could see the man on his front porch but couldn’t tell what he was doing.

His family continued to call the police -- five calls in all, Garcia said. Five times the dispatcher assured me that help was coming.

Then, 10 to 20 minutes after Garcia had walked back from Oropeza's house, the man started running toward him and reloading.

“I told my wife, ‘Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon,” Garcia said. “My wife told me to go inside because ‘he won’t fire at me, I’m a woman.’”

The gunman walked up to the home and began firing. Garcia’s wife, Sonia Guzmán, 28, was at the front door, and the first to die.

The house held 15 people in all, several of them friends who had been there to join Garcia’s wife on a church retreat. The gunman seemed intent on killing everyone, Garcia said. 

Garcia's son, Daniel, was among the dead. There were two other women who died while shielding Garcia's baby and 2-year-old daughter.

After the shootings, Oropeza got away and hasn't been seen. Authorities said they don't know where he is and they've gotten no tips. On Sunday, investigators sent out an incorrect photo of Oropeza.

"We looked at what we had…and now we’re 100% confident we have the right photo out there, but it was a mistake," FBI Special Agent James Smith said.

The local sheriff said he was doing everything he could to find Oropeza.

"We're going door-to-door with these 200 officers," Sheriff Greg Capers said. "My heart is with this ... little boy. I don’t care if he was here legally. I don’t care if he was here illegally. He was in my county. Five people died in my county. And that is where my heart is."

As the search continues, authorities said they hope a lead comes in that helps them catch the accused shooter.

"It is my No. 1 priority to find (him)," Capers said.

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