San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office is searching for Francisco Oropeza, 38, after he shot and killed five people in Cleveland, Texas, on Friday night.
The victims, all family members, were from Honduras and included three women, a man, and an 8-year-old boy. According to authorities, the shooting was prompted by the neighbors’ request that Oropeza stop shooting an AR-15-style weapon in his front yard while their baby was trying to sleep.
Authorities charged Oropeza with five counts of murder and believe he fled the area after the incident. Three children survived the attack and were taken to the hospital for medical attention.
This was the year’s 19th U.S. shooting to kill at least four people, not including the shooter, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks U.S. shootings.
The killings drew calls from gun control advocates for a federal ban of AR-15-style weapons, whose sale is banned in a few states. Washington became the latest on Wednesday, when its Democratic governor signed a ban into law.
Sheriff Greg Capers described the scene as “horrific” and stated that all five victims were shot in the head. He also mentioned that two of the women who were killed were found lying on top of the surviving young children in a bedroom, “trying to protect them.”
Residents in the area reportedly hear gunshots frequently, but Oropeza allegedly became angry when his neighbors asked him to stop shooting the weapon.
Law enforcement officers received a report of “harassment” about 11:30 p.m. and went to the home, but all adults were declared dead at the scene, and the 8-year-old died at a hospital.
Authorities charged Oropeza, 38, with five counts of murder and were searching for him Saturday morning, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, who said authorities believed the gunman was about two miles from the area and were working to apprehend him.
Ten people, all family members, were in the Cleveland, Tex., home during the shooting. Three women, a man and an 8-year-old boy were killed, Capers said. Five others survived, including three children.
The suspect was the victims’ neighbor and went to their home Friday night after they asked him to stop shooting an AR-15-style weapon in his front yard because of the noise, Capers said.
“We’re searching for him. We don’t believe him to be in the area,” Capers said. Cleveland is about 40 miles northeast of downtown Houston.