By Tom Ozimek
The suspect who shot and killed five people in Texas—including an 8-year-old child—had been deported from the United States multiple times, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers.
Capers told Breitbart that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers had deported the suspect—Mexican national Francisco Oropeza—three times, most recently in 2016.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wouldn’t comment on Oropeza’s immigration status when asked during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, citing an “active case.”
Mayorkas called the crime “just absolutely horrific.”
The 38-year-old Oropeza was allegedly told to stop firing a rifle in his yard because a baby was trying to sleep, according to the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect then allegedly opened fire, killing five people, including an 8-year-old, during the early hours of April 29 in Cleveland, Texas.
Oropeza remains on the run and is considered armed and dangerous.
The Epoch Times has contacted ICE for comment.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the fugitive, who Abbott said is in the country illegally.
“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the five victim that were taken in this senseless act of violence,” Abbott said in a statement Sunday.
Abbott noted that the victims, a family from Honduras, were also in the country illegally.
Besides offering the monetary reward for information on the whereabouts of the suspect, the Texas governor said he has directed relevant authorities to put Operation Lone Star soldiers and troops on the lookout for the fugitive, who may be attempting to flee the country after the killings.
“I continue working with state and local officials to ensure they have all available resources to respond to this horrific crime,” Abbott said.
In an update posted on social media early Monday, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s office said that law enforcement is still actively searching for Oropeza.
“Several dozen law enforcement officials are currently investigating leads and intel as it becomes available, as well as continuing to examine the area,” Capers said in a statement. “We ask that the general public limit traffic to the area while law enforcement works to capture the suspect.”
In an earlier post, Capers asked for tips from the public while warning people that Oropeza is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.
Abbott’s $50,000 reward brings the total offered by state and federal agencies to $80,000 for tips leading to the suspect’s capture.
Shooting survivor Wilson Garcia told The Associated Press that he was one of those who went to Oropeza’s house late Friday to ask him to shoot his gun farther away from his home.
“He told us he was on his property, and he could do what he wanted,” Garcia said Sunday after a vigil in Cleveland, Texas, for his 8-year-old son who was killed in the attack.
Garcia said that he called the police after Oropeza rejected his request.
After Garcia walked back from Oropeza’s house, he said he saw Oropeza run toward him and reload.
“I told my wife: ‘Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon,” Garcia told the outlet. “My wife told me to go inside because ‘he won’t fire at me, I’m a woman.’”
The shooter then reportedly walked up to Garcia’s home and began firing, with Garcia’s 25-year-old wife being the first to die.
Among the dead was Garcia’s young son and two women who died while shielding his baby and 2-year-old daughter with their bodies.
There were 15 people in the house that night, according to the report, with Garcia saying the shooter seemed intent on killing as many as he could.
Police have recovered the AR-15-style rifle Oropeza allegedly used in the shootings.