UNITED STATES

Texas murder suspect in custody after dayslong manhunt

May 3, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: 7:49 am

The victims -- all Honduran nationals -- have been identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and he...

The victims -- all Honduran nationals -- have been identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and her son Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, 9; Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and José Jonathan Cásarez, 18. Photo credit:

(CNN) — [Breaking news update, published at 10:27 p.m.]

The tip that led to Oropesa’s location came through the FBI’s tip line, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Paul said at the news conference.

“We just want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect’s location,” he said.

Paul said the tip came in at 5:15 p.m. local time and Oropesa was arrested at 6:30 p.m.

[Breaking news update, published at 10:19 p.m.]

The suspect, Francisco Oropesa, was “caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters Tuesday. “They effectively made the arrest; he is uninjured; and he is currently being taken to my facility in Coldspring.”

[Previous story, published at 10:03 p.m.]

The man accused of fatally shooting five people, including a mother and her 9-year-old son, at a neighbor’s home in Texas has been taken into custody after a dayslong manhunt, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday night.

The arrest was made in the town of Cut and Shoot, Texas, a federal law enforcement source told CNN. Cut and Shoot is roughly 17 miles west of Cleveland, Texas, where the killings took place.

The suspect was taken to jail “without incident” and will be held on a $5 million bond, the sheriff’s office said.

Francisco Oropesa, 38, is accused of carrying out the massacre Friday night after he was asked to stop shooting his rifle near a neighboring home, officials have said. Investigators had initially started tracking Oropesa using his cellphone but said that trail went cold Saturday evening.

Authorities for days urged the public to come forward with any information and devoted substantial resources to tracking down the suspect, including more than 250 law enforcement officers and a $80,000 in rewards for tips leading to his arrest.

Law enforcement officials surveilled Oropesa’s wife to a home near Cut and Shoot that was associated with one of his family members, a law enforcement source told CNN. Texas Department of Public Safety tactical officers entered the home and found the suspect hiding in a closet.

Authorities are now investigating whether the suspect had any help in hiding, San Jacinto County District Attorney Todd Dillon told CNN Tuesday night.

Though Oropesa’s current immigration status is unknown, he had entered the US illegally and been deported by immigration officials at least four times since 2009, said an ICE source who identified him as Francisco Oropesa Perez-Torres. An immigration judge first removed him in March 2009 before he was deported again in September 2009, January 2012, and July 2016, the source said.

It is not known how long Oropesa has been in the US since his last deportation, according to the source.

The victims — all Honduran nationals — have been identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and her son Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, 9; Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and José Jonathan Cásarez, 18.

A news conference is scheduled for 9 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to the FBI.

How the attack unfolded

Fifteen people — including friends and godparents who had come to help get ready for a church event — had gathered Friday in the home in Cleveland, a city of about 8,000 northeast of Houston, said Wilson Garcia, whose wife and son were killed.

About 10 to 20 minutes before the massacre, Garcia and two others had walked over to Oropesa’s yard to ask him to stop shooting so close to their home because Garcia’s baby was sleeping, he told CNN. They’d asked Oropesa to shoot on the other side of his property, the father said.

The suspect refused, and Garcia said he would call police.

“We walked inside and my wife was talking to the police, and we called five times because he was being more threatening,” Garcia recalled.

“We saw him, he was leaving his property and cocked his gun,” the father said. “I told my wife to get inside because he cocked his gun and he might come threaten us. So my wife said, ‘You go inside, I don’t think he will fire at me because I’m a woman, I’ll stay here at the door.'”

Soon after, the gunman charged into Garcia’s home, first shooting his wife, Sonia Argentina Guzman, in the doorway before killing three other adults and Garcia’s son, Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, the grieving father said.

“One of the people who died saw when my wife fell to the ground,” Garcia told CNN.

“She told me to throw myself out the window because my children were already without a mother. So one of us had to stay alive to take care of them. She was the person who helped me jump out the window.”

The woman who helped Garcia flee did not survive, he said.

“Two people who died were protecting my 2 1/2-year-old daughter and my 1-month-old son,” Garcia said, sobbing. “They protected him with a bunch of clothing so the murderer wouldn’t kill him, too. So just imagine what we’re feeling now. It was horrible.”

When police arrived, they found the victims had been shot “almost execution style” at close range above the neck, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told local media.

Authorities got to the scene as fast as they could, Capers said. But his small force covers a large county, he said, and the home is about 15 minutes outside town.

‘I feel a part of me has gone with her’

As the victim’s families mourn, Argentina Guzman’s loved ones struggled to put their grief into words.

The pain felt by her brother, German Guzman, is “unexplainable,” he told CNN, adding, “It’s difficult to know people who are very close to you are gone, very difficult.”

“I feel a part of me has gone with her. I feel a part of my heart is broken,” said her mother, Francia Guzman.

“With God’s permission, she’ll return in a coffin so I can say goodbye even though she’ll never respond, even though she can no longer say anything to me,” the mother said.

Honduran officials are preparing to repatriate the victims’ remains, they’ve said.

“The Government of Honduras deeply regrets the loss of these valuable lives and accompanies all their loved ones in their pain. We demand that the pertinent authorities arrest the perpetrator of this terrible event and apply the full weight of the law,” the Honduran Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The only thing I want is for them to be returned so they can rest where they were born, so they can rest forever and they be in a place where I can at least take them a flower,” Francia Guzman said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

United States

President Joe Biden, left, and former President Donald Trump (right) have each accepted an invitati...

Mariah Maynes

President Biden and former President Trump accept CNN debate invitation

President Biden and Former President Donald Trump have agreed to a debate that will be hosted by CNN in June.

5 days ago

Baby names in US...

Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

The latest list of top US baby names has a few surprises

The list of the most popular US baby names was released. See what name knocked Benjamin out of the top 10.

6 days ago

KSL NewsRadio's Amanda Dickson gives thanks to Utah women and mother's everywhere this Mother's Day...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: A salute to Utah women

KSL NewsRadio's anchor and host, Amanda Dickson gives salute to all Utah women and mothers for all they do this Mother's Day.

8 days ago

The Northern Lights on Friday seen near Park City, Utah....

Tom Krisher, Josh Funk and Marcia Dunn

Solar storm puts on brilliant global light show, no serious problems reported

Utah was able to see the Northern Lights on Friday night, covering the sky in color. But how did the lights affect things like power grids?

9 days ago

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on the house side as she arrives for a meeting with Speaker of t...

LISA MASCARO and KEVIN FREKING Associated Press

House rejects Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s effort to remove Speaker Johnson from office

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson on Wednesday, but lawmakers rejected it.

12 days ago

Former US President Donald Trump attends his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments li...

By Jeremy Herb, Lauren del Valle and Kara Scannell, CNN

LISTEN: ABC investigative reporter on impact of explicit details from Stormy Daniels in Trump trial

The adult film star will be back on the witness stand Thursday.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Texas murder suspect in custody after dayslong manhunt