The Texas resident who complained that his neighbor’s shooting woke his baby — apparently triggering the other man to drunkenly kill five people — says he is in disbelief and lost his own wife and 8-year-old boy in the massacre.
Homeowner Wilson Garcia told the local ABC affiliate that he and his wife had just put their 1-month-old infant to bed and were hosting guests in their Cleveland home Friday night when neighbor Francisco Oropesa, 38, began firing his gun out on his porch.
Garcia said that the next thing he knew, Oropesa had grabbed an AR-15-style gun and shot and killed his wife, Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, and son, Daniel Enrique Laso, 8, as well as Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18.
“I never thought that he would shoot,” Garcia said. “He went room to room, looking for people.”
Police said each of the victims were shot “from the neck up,” with two of them slumped over a pair of children in an apparent attempt to protect the little ones.
The grieving father noted that even though the gunman tried shooting him, with bullets flying everywhere, he was somehow able to avoid getting shot.
Garcia said he still does not know why Oropesa killed his loved ones, saying Friday’s encounter was one of the rare times they spoke in the three years since they moved in.
“I never had a problem with him. I can’t believe what he did,” Garcia told ABC.
Oropesa remains on the run after the mass shooting, with law enforcement admitting that the suspect “could be anywhere now” and should be considered armed and dangerous.
Local San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said late Saturday that authorities have sent out dogs and drones as they widened their hunt for Oropesa to at least 20 miles from Cleveland, which is about 45 miles north of Houston.
As the manhunt for the married dad intensified Sunday, law enforcement could be seen searching local homes as authorities offered an $80,000 reward for information leading to the suspect.?
Oropesa is believed to be on foot or bike and had escaped detection after police initially believed they cornered him in a thick forest area, Capers said.
A phone and clothing were recovered in the area, and police were able to identify the suspect through a card issued to Mexican residents living outside the country, as well as doorbell-cam footage.
There were 10 people in the targeted home at the time of the shooting, although no one else was hurt.
Along with Garcia and his infant, three blood-covered children in the home survived the massacre, officials said.
Capers added that anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts should call the sheriff’s office at 936-653-4367.