Speed Reads


Texas fugitive accused of killing 5 neighbors found in closet under laundry, police say

A four-day manhunt for a man believed to have murdered five neighbors after he was asked to stop shooting his gun Friday night ended Tuesday evening when law enforcement found the suspect hiding in a house about 20 miles from the scene of the crime. The suspect, Francisco Oropeza, "was caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry," San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said at a press conference outside Houston on Tuesday night. The families of the five victims, and the wider community, "can rest easy now because he is behind bars," he added. 

The manhunt for Oropeza, a 38-year-old Mexican national, involved more than 200 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers. The search originally focused on a wooded area outside his house in Cleveland, a town about 40 miles northeast of downtown Houston, but it had expanded as far as the Mexican border before Oropeza was caught. He was captured after someone called in his location to the FBI's tip line. Capers said he will be charged with five counts of murder, and he predicted Oropeza "will live out his life behind bars for killing those five."

Wilson Garcia, one of the neighbors who survived the massacre, said Oropeza was asked to stop firing his gun late Friday night because a baby was trying to sleep. Instead, Oropeza, who was reportedly drunk, grabbed his AR-15-style rifle and approached Garcia's house, shot his wife at the front door, then went from room to room looking for more victims, Garcia told local news. He said friends and family in the home tried to hide and shield children. Two of the victims were found using their bodies to successfully protect three children, The Texas Tribune reports

The victims have been identified as Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 9. 

Texas lawmakers have responded to decades of mass shootings by easing gun restrictions, the Tribune reports. "The capture of the gunman came the same day families of the victims of the May 24 Uvalde school shooting returned to the state Capitol to once again ask lawmakers to change the law on who can purchase semi-automatic guns. The gunman in the Uvalde school shooting also used an AR-15-style weapon."