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Texas Gunman That Killed 5 People Captured Following Manhunt

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Updated: | Originally published:

Police have arrested the Texas gunman who allegedly shot his neighbors—killing five people, including a 9-year-old boy—after they asked him to stop firing his rifle in his yard. The suspect was found after a four-day-long search that began when he fled the scene on Friday.

The FBI Houston office previously announced that they were offering a combined reward of up to $80,000 for information that could help them find 38-year-old suspect Francisco Oropeza.

Attempts to track the suspect through his phone’s location went cold Saturday evening after the gunman left behind his cellphone, along with articles of clothing, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said. Police also found the AR-15 rifle they believe was used during the shooting.

Officials were able to locate him Tuesday thanks to an FBI hotline tip at 5:15 p.m. the same day. He was arrested a little over an hour later, after authorities found him hiding in a closet. “He is behind bars and will live out his life behind bars,” Capers said Tuesday evening.

Video footage of the gunman, who was described as “armed and dangerous” by the FBI, shows him approaching his neighbor’s door in Cleveland, Texas, according to authorities, after which he shot and killed half of the people inside.

Oropeza has been charged with five counts of murder and has a $5 million bond.

Here’s what to know about the shooting.

What happened?

On Friday, Oropeza’s neighbors, including Wilson Garcia, the father of the child who was killed, asked Oropeza to stop firing shots in his yard because a baby was trying to sleep. Police say the gunman, who was inebriated, responded, “I’ll do what I want to in my front yard.”

The gunman then allegedly approached his neighbor’s house with the rifle and killed Garcia’s wife in the doorway before shooting four other victims in the head within close range, according to authorities. Neighbors in the area contend that it’s common for people to shoot in their yard after work, leading them to think nothing of the gunshots until they saw the father of the children come outside asking for someone to call an ambulance.

Police say that they were already on their way to the house for a harassment complaint at about 11:30 p.m. Friday when they received several 911 calls about an active shooter on-scene. A SWAT team conducted a search and found that the gunman had fled the premises.

Capers indicated during a Saturday news conference that they had gone to Oropeza’s house before and talked to him about shooting his gun in his yard, which can be illegal. San Jacinto County law allows municipalities to decide regulations about discharging a gun outside of a shooting range. In Cleveland, Texas, this means that a person may only fire a gun on their property to protect livestock against predatory animals if their property is at least one acre large, and the projectile from the gun does not enter someone else’s property.

Who are the victims?

The five victims were identified as: Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. They were all of Honduran descent. Capers said that some of the victims had just arrived in Cleveland, Texas from Houston. Other family members had been living in the neighborhood for two years, according to the Washington Post.

“They were a very happy family. Christian. They were kind,” Vianey Balderas, who lives in the neighborhood where the shooting took place, told the Post. “It hurts a lot, because I did love the family a lot. I am now afraid to be at home,” she added.

There were five other people in the house at the time of the shooting, but they were not harmed.

“Our condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible crime in San Jacinto, Texas. In which 5 people supposedly of Honduran nationality have died. Our consulate has been instructed to contact the authorities and closely monitor the case,” tweeted Enrique Reina, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Honduras. “We demand that the full weight of the law be applied against the person(s) responsible for this crime.”

Gov. Greg Abbott said his heart went out to the “the families and loved ones” of the victims, but he was criticized after he referred to the family as “5 illegal immigrants” on Twitter. (The status of the victims remains under question after immigrant rights activist Carlos Eduardo Espina shared a photo of one of the victim’s residency card on Twitter, which he said was sent by Alvarado’s husband. TIME has not independently verified the photo.)

This year, gun violence has taken the lives of more than 500 minors, a result of the more than 180 mass shootings that have occurred so far, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

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