The Charges Against Texas Shooting Suspect Francisco Oropesa Explained

After a four-day manhunt, Francisco Oropesa was arrested on May 2, 2023 in Cut and Shoot, Texas, CNN reports. Charges against Oropesa, a man wanted in connection with a mass shooting in that state in which five people were killed, including a 9-year-old boy, have now been filed. There were reportedly several arrests made around the same time Oropesa was taken into custody. Those included Oropesa's long-time partner, Divimara Lamar Nava, sometimes referred to as Oropesa's wife, who may have helped Oropesa evade capture (pictured below).

The shooting Oropesa was wanted in connection with took place in Cleveland, Texas. Like Cut and Shoot, Cleveland is just outside Houston. When the shooting happened, neighbors had reportedly asked Oropesa to cease firing an AR-15-style weapon. All five victims were shot "above the neck," according to Montgomery County Sheriff, Greg Capers. They were the 9-year-old, Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, and his 25-year-old mother, Sonia Argentina Guzman, along with José Jonathan Cásarez, 18, Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21, and Julisa Molina Rivera, 31. If indicted, Oropesa could now stand trial on five counts of first-degree felony murder, Capers said. 

All others arrested were wanted in connection to the crime, according to CNN. Domingo Castilla was held for possession of marijuana and could face obstruction charges related to Oropesa's apprehension. According to San Jacinto County criminal district attorney Todd Dillon (via CNN), "[W]e expect there to be more charges filed," in relation to Castilla. 

Charges against Oropesa could be upgraded to capital murder. Should that happen, he could face the death penalty in Texas. 

Oropesa's immigration status is unclear

Francisco Oropesa was found thanks to an anonymous tip to the FBI. He was previously been spotted prompting a community lockdown, but he eluded authorities. Oropesa's cell phone and some clothing were found but his trail went cold. Oropesa was found inside a relative's home about 20 miles from the crime scene hiding under laundry inside a closet.

Hundreds of law enforcement officials were involved in Oropesa's search, including drones and dogs. An $80,000 reward was offered for information on his whereabouts. Once Oropesa was located, authorities asked the anonymous tipster to reveal their identity. All five of the individuals shot and killed by Oropesa, a Mexican national, were Hondurans. As for Oropesa, he'd entered the U.S. illegally on several occasions dating to 2009. In each case, Oropesa had been deported, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (via PBS NewsHour). 

Though Oropesa's immigration status at the time of his arrest was unclear, the Mexican consulate will be notified of his status and the circumstances of his case. Oropesa's indictment was expected to come less than 90 days after murder charges were filed against him. Oropesa's bail was set at $1.5 million for each count for a total of $7.5 million (via the Associated Press).

There were survivors in the mass shooting attack

Though five people were killed, others were at the scene but survived. Wilson Garcia was one survivor, but his son and wife were killed. He said that he and a couple of others asked Oropesa (pictured above) to stop firing his weapon late at night or move further away because the noise had disturbed a sleeping baby. Oropesa responded that he was on his own property and didn't have to. Garcia thought the ask seemed reasonable, as the families were acquainted and had gotten along in the past, per NBC News.

Police were called five times as Orpesa continued to fire his weapon on his property, according to the Associated Press. Though dispatchers said help was on the way, within 10 to 20 minutes Orpesa started to run toward the victim's home. Garcia said, "I told my wife, 'Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon.' My wife told me to go inside because 'he won't fire at me, I'm a woman.'" Yet Oropesa shot her first. Then, according to what Garcia told NBC News, he went into the house. "He didn't say anything. He shot her, and the door was wide open. He walks in, room by room, shooting at us."

According to NBC News, Garcia said, "All I want is for them to apprehend him, put him in jail, and make him pay for everything he did because it would be too easy if they just kill him and make his pain go away just like that."