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Police hunt continues for suspects in Texas mass shooting

cLEVELAND, Texas (AP) – Law enforcement officers went door-to-door Sunday looking for clues about a gunman who went on the run after killing five people in a rural Texas town after his neighbors asked him to stop. shoot in your yard

The suspected shooter, Francisco Oropesa, 38, was considered armed and dangerous after fleeing the area Friday, likely on foot, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said Saturday afternoon. He said authorities had expanded the search to within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of the shooting site.

Investigators found clothing and a phone while combing a rural area that includes dense layers of forest, but tracking dogs missed the scent, Capers said. Authorities were able to identify Oropesa using an identity card issued by Mexican authorities to citizens residing outside the country, as well as doorbell camera footage. He said police have also interviewed the suspect’s wife.

Police recovered the AR-15-style rifle that Orpesa allegedly used in the shootings, but authorities were unsure if he was carrying another weapon, the sheriff said. There were other weapons in the suspect’s home, he said.

“He could be anywhere right now,” Capers said Saturday night.

The attack took place near the city of Cleveland, north of Houston, on a street where some residents say neighbors often relax by shooting guns.

Sunday was a much quieter scene. Police crime scene tape had been removed from around the victims’ home, where four bullet holes were visible in the front door.

An FBI agent, several Texas Department of Public Safety officers and other officers could be seen walking around the neighborhood, going door to door and trying to talk to neighbors. The agent and officers declined to comment on what they were doing.

While the police were talking to the residents of a house, a red truck pulling a trailer drove through the neighborhood. An officer stopped the truck and asked the driver, “Do you mind if I look inside the truck?”

The driver agreed and allowed the policeman to enter the vehicle. After inspecting the trailer, the officer let the driver continue on his way.

Capers said the victims ranged in age from 8 to 31 and were all believed to be from Honduras. All were shot “from the neck up,” he said. A GoFundMe page was set up to repatriate the bodies of two victims, a mother and son, to their home country.

Enrique Reina, Honduran Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said on Twitter that the Honduran consulate in Houston was contacting the families regarding the repatriation of the remains, as well as the authorities Americans to stay abreast of the research.

The suspect’s last name was originally given as Oropeza by authorities, but the Houston FBI said in a tweet Sunday that it was now referring to him as Oropesa to “better reflect his identity in law enforcement systems the law”. The FBI said the case “remains an ongoing investigation.”

The attack was the latest act of gun violence in what has been a record spate of mass shootings in the US so far this year, some of which have also involved semi-automatic rifles.

Capers said there were 10 people in the home, some of whom had just moved in earlier in the week, but no one else was injured. He said two of the victims were found in a bedroom lying on top of two children in an apparent attempt to protect them.

A total of three children found covered in blood in the home were taken to a hospital but were found unharmed, Capers said.

FBI spokeswoman Christina Garza said investigators do not believe those in the home were members of the same family. The victims were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25 years old; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8.

The confrontation occurred after neighbors approached a fence and asked the suspect to stop shooting, Capers said. He said the suspect responded by telling them it was his property. Doorbell video captured him walking to the front door with a rifle.

The shooting took place on a bumpy country street where single-story homes sit on 1-acre lots and are surrounded by a thick canopy of trees. A horse could be seen behind the victims’ house, while a dog and chickens roamed the front yard of Orpesa’s house.

Rene Arevalo Sr., who lives a few houses down, said he heard gunshots around midnight but didn’t think anything of it.

“It’s a normal thing that people do around here, especially on Fridays after work,” Arévalo said. “They come home and start drinking in the back yard and shooting out there.”

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