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The Texas man accused of killing 5 neighbors is in custody, authorities say

A posted wanted sign for a mass shooting suspect, Francisco Oropesa, is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas.
David J. Phillip
A posted wanted sign for a mass shooting suspect, Francisco Oropesa, is shown Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas.

Updated May 2, 2023 at 10:35 PM ET

Law enforcement officials say the man accused of killing five neighbors in southeast Texas early Saturday is now in custody after evading capture for days.

The suspect, 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa, fled the scene, leading law enforcement on a massive manhunt over more than three days.

He was taken into custody "without incident" in Montgomery County, Texas, on Tuesday evening, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said.

San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told reporters on Tuesday night that Oropesa was found hiding in a closet underneath a pile of laundry. He was taken to Montgomery County Jail and will be transferred to a facility in San Jacinto County.

Oropesa was located after the FBI received information on their tip line at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, and he was arrested at about 6:30 p.m., said Jimmy Paul, the FBI Houston assistant special agent in charge.

The U.S. Marshals, the Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Border Patrol led the arrest.

Oropesa was being held on five counts of murder and a $5 million bond, the sheriff said.

Authorities had offered an $80,000 reward for information and put more than 250 officers on the case.

Oropesa was deported four times between 2009 and 2016, The Associated Press reported, citing immigration officials.

The owner of the home where the shooting took place said it happened after he asked Oropesa to stop firing his gun in his yard because a baby in the house was trying to sleep.

Wilson Garcia, the homeowner, told KTRK that Oropesa came to his house and shot and killed his wife, 25-year-old Sonia Argentina Guzman, before entering the home and shooting other people inside.

Authorities identified the four other victims killed in the shooting as Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, 9.

Three others were injured and taken to a hospital.

Ten people were in the home at the time of the shooting, Capers said. Three others were injured and taken to the hospital.

The gun used was an AR-15 style rifle, he said. Authorities were still investigating how he obtained it.

The victims were all originally from Honduras, and Oropesa is from Mexico, Capers said on Saturday.

The shooting happened in Cleveland, an 8,000-person town northeast of Houston.

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James Doubek is an associate editor and reporter for NPR. He frequently covers breaking news for and NPR's hourly newscast. In 2018, he reported feature stories for NPR's business desk on topics including electric scooters, cryptocurrency, and small business owners who lost out when Amazon made a deal with Apple.
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