Five people – including an eight-year-old boy – have been killed in a shooting in Texas after they asked a man to stop firing rounds in his garden because they were trying to sleep.
Authorities are searching for the 38-year-old suspect after the shooting in the town of Cleveland, around 45 miles north of Houston, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.
The suspect, Francisco Oropeza, is a Mexican national who is believed to have fled the country, Mr Capers said.
An arrest warrant has been issued for him and a judge has assigned a $5m bond. He faces five counts of murder.
Mr Capers said the suspect used an AR-style rifle in the shooting.
There were 10 people inside the house and no one else was injured, Mr Capers said.
On Saturday night, authorities widened the search area to a 20-mile (32km) radius as Oropeza – who was likely armed – had been on the run for more than 18 hours.
Clothes and a phone were found by officers combing a rural area with areas of forest but tracking dogs had lost the scent.
Two of the victims, who are all believed to be from Honduras, were found lying over two children inside.
“The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort as to protect the child,” Mr Capers said.
The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8.
As part of the hunt, officers found clothes and a phone while looking in a rural area that included forest, but police admitted tracking dogs eventually lost the scent.
Mr Capers said the confrontation came after family members walked up to the fence and asked the suspect to stop shooting rounds.
The suspect responded by telling them it was his property, according to the sheriff, and one person in the house took a video of the suspect walking up to the front door with the rifle.
Authorities had previously been to the suspect’s home, according to the sheriff.
“Deputies have come over and spoke with him about him shooting his gun in the yard,” Mr Capers said.
Rene Arevalo Sr, who lives a few houses down from the scene, said he heard gunshots around midnight but didn’t think anything of it.
“It’s a normal thing people do around here, especially on Fridays after work,” he said. “They get home and start drinking in their backyards and shooting out there.”
The incident occurred days after nine people were injured at a shooting during teenagers’ party in western Texas.
Two weeks ago four young people were shot dead during a 16th birthday party in Alabama.
Firearm incidents are the top cause of death for US children and teenagers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and
Be the first to comment