Washington, Apr 29 (EFE).- A man allegedly gunned down five neighbors after an argument over his shooting practice at his Texas home, authorities said on Saturday.
The deceased are all from Honduras.
The authorities have launched a widespread search for the suspect, identified by the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office as 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, a Mexican national.
The FBI’s Houston Field Office is assisting in the search after the shooting on Friday night in the small town of Cleveland, San Jacinto County, north of Houston.
“He could be anywhere now,” San Jacinto Sheriff Greg Capers said at a news conference.
Capers said the suspect was known in the neighborhood because he liked to practice shooting in the garden of his house with an AR-15 rifle.
The police had earlier intervened on a couple of occasions.
On Friday night, he was firing his gun in the front yard of his home when with his AR-15 rifle when one of his neighbors asked him to stop because it was already too late and a baby was trying to sleep.
The suspect broke into the neighbor’s home and shot people dead “from the neck up, in an almost execution-style,” Capers said.
“The man takes it upon himself to walk out of his residence with a loaded AR-15, walk out into the street, walk down the street, walk into that man’s driveway, into his house and start shooting.”
The sheriff said it was “grotesque” to walk into a house and “see four dead, and then a baby at the hospital.”
Among the dead were two women.
Capers said they found the dead women lying on top of two surviving kids, apparently trying to protect the children.
Initially, authorities thought they cornered the suspect in a wooded area near the shooting scene.
But they found an abandoned phone with which they had tracked him down and some clothing he had taken off.
Capers said scent-tracking dogs tracked the suspect but lost the trail when they reached a river.
Local Texas authorities have offered a reward of up to $5 million to anyone with any information leading to his arrest.
James Smith, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston-area office, warned that the shooter is considered “armed and dangerous.”
He called on residents not to “take the law into their hands.”
Capers said the suspect could be armed but indicated that the AR-15 assault rifle he used in the shooting was seized.
This afternoon, Capers offered the names and ages of the people who lost their lives after receiving authorization from the families.
Capers identified the five deceased as Daniel Enrique Laso, 8; Jose Jonathan, 18; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; and Molina Rivera, 31.
Agents found the adults dead when they arrived at the house. The child was airlifted to a hospital, where he died.
The 10 people inside the house lived together. But they were not part of the same family. EFE