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

Lucio Vasquez
Houston Public Media

The man accused of killing five people in San Jacinto County, Texas last week has been captured after a days-long manhunt, authorities announced Tuesday evening.

Francisco Oropesa, 38, was arrested in Cut and Shoot, Texas in Montgomery County. San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said he was found hiding in a closet under a pile of laundry and was arrested without incident or injury.

"I have just left Montgomery County jail where he was taken and he has been magistrate," Capers said. "He will be taken to my jail where his new residence will be."

Capers said he's currently facing five murder charges and will be held on a $5 million bond.

"Everybody played a very integral part in the capture of this coward," Capers said. "Everybody worked tirelessly. ... we've had calls from Wyoming, Florida, South Texas North Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland. The bottom line is we now have this man in custody."

Online video posted Tuesday evening appeared to show Oropesa shirtless and clean shaven during his arrest. During a press conference Tuesday night, Jimmy Paul, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Houston Office, said officers searched the area after receiving a tip from the FBI hotline.

"It's an ongoing investigation and he is being charged by the San Jacinto Sheriff's Office," Paul said.

He added that as of now, there are no plans to hit Oropesa with federal charges.

Officials would not confirm if he was hiding at a relative's house, which had been reported by other outlets. However, Capers confirmed that the people who were in the house along with Oropesa were not under arrest.

Paul added that they had been in contact with relatives and others in the area.

Capers said he couldn't confirm how Oropesa — who authorities say is undocumented — was able to get the AR-15 rifle he allegedly used during Friday night's massacre but suggested that he may have "bought it from someone on the street."

Authorities say Oropesa killed five people — including a nine-year-old boy — in his neighbor's home in Cleveland late Friday night after he was asked to stop shooting a gun in his yard.

The arrest comes after authorities said earlier this week that they had “zero leads” on Oropesa’s whereabouts. An $80,000 reward was offered to help locate Oropesa.

That money will go to the person who called in the tip, Sheriff Capers said.

More than 200 law enforcement officers had been searching for Oropesa, who authorities said could have fled to Mexico. Authorities say Oropesa is a Mexican national who had been previously deported several times.

This is a developing story.

Julián Aguilar of The Texas Newsroom contributed to this story.

Copyright 2023 Houston Public Media News 88.7

Lucio Vasquez