Tragedy struck Cleveland, Texas, as Francisco Oropesa, a 38-year-old Mexican national, allegedly shot and killed five of his neighbors, including an 8-year-old boy. This senseless crime has devastated the community and raised concerns about border security and illegal immigration. Shockingly, Oropesa was deported four times between 2009 and 2016, according to reporting by Bill Melugin with Fox News.
BREAKING: ICE confirms that Francisco Oropesa, the Mexican national accused of fatally shooting 5 of his neighbors in TX, has been deported from the US multiple times. March 2009, Sept. 2009, January 2012, and July 2016. Also has a DUI conviction in Montgomery County, TX in 2012. pic.twitter.com/ftxBhlpPwd
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 1, 2023
The motive for the murders reportedly was that the neighbors requested Oropesa to stop shooting his gun late at night, as their baby was unable to sleep. Enraged, Oropesa allegedly went to the neighbor’s house and fatally shot three women, a man, and the young boy.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers commented on the situation, saying, “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 — in my county, protecting my people to the best of our ability.” Capers’ commitment to the safety of his constituents is commendable, but this tragedy highlights the need for effective border security measures to prevent further incidents involving illegal immigrants.
Oropesa’s deportations began in March 2009, with additional removals in September 2009, January 2012 following a conviction for driving while intoxicated in Montgomery County, and July 2016. His current immigration status is unknown, as is the date he re-entered the United States.
Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and over 250 officers, are actively searching for Oropesa, considered armed and dangerous. Fred Smith, FBI special agent in charge, stated that they have “zero leads” and have been “running into dead ends” in their search for the suspect. As a result, the FBI has warned the public not to approach Oropesa if they see him. Instead, they should call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office with any information about his whereabouts.
Wilson Garcia, survivor, and grieving father, recounted confronting Oropesa with his wife after the suspect allegedly shot his gun while drunk. After the police were called five times, Oropesa arrived at Garcia’s home armed with an AR-style rifle. Garcia’s wife, Sonia Guzman, was the first to be killed, followed by their 9-year-old son, Daniel Enrique Laso, who died trying to protect his mother.
The other victims, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, Julisa Molina Rivera, and Jose Jonathan Casarez, all died from gunshot wounds to the neck or head, described by Sheriff Capers as “execution-style.” Alvarado and Rivera used their bodies to shield three children, who survived the attack, though covered in blood.
Garcia has established a GoFundMe page to help bring his wife and son’s bodies back to Honduras. Authorities have not disclosed the immigration status of the victims. However, Alvarado has been confirmed as a permanent US resident.
In the aftermath of this horrifying event, lawmakers and law enforcement must reevaluate border security policies to ensure the safety of American citizens. The loss of five lives, including a young child, is a stark reminder that more must be done to protect our communities from those who threaten our safety and security.