A gunman in Texas who killed five people from Honduras is still at large, and the search has been going on for three days with few leads. 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, who has been deported four times since 2009, is believed to be the shooter. On Monday, Republican Governor Greg Abbott offered a $50,000 reward for any information that might lead to his capture. Governor Abbott has drawn criticism for referring to the victims as “illegal immigrants” when it was later revealed that at least one of them may have been in the United States legally. The search has involved more than 250 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies, but as yet, there have been no significant leads.
The shooting occurred after Oropeza’s neighbours asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard late at night because a baby was trying to sleep. Oropeza is considered armed and dangerous and is believed to have fled on foot after the shooting. The alleged shooter is a Mexican national who has been deported four times. The victims were Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 9.
The search for Oropeza has involved scent-tracking dogs and a total of $80,000 in reward money. Several possible sightings have been reported, but none have turned out to be Oropeza. Law enforcement on the scene have not confirmed the citizenship status of the victims. Governor Abbott has faced criticism for his comments about the victims’ immigration status. Immigrant rights groups and Democrats have criticised him for using divisive language.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers has said that he hopes the reward money will motivate people to provide information. There are plans to put up billboards in Spanish to spread the word. Meanwhile, residents in the area remain fearful that the gunman has not yet been captured.