(CLEVELAND, Texas) — Five people are dead after being shot in a Texas home by a suspect armed with an AR-15 style rifle in a horrific series of “execution style” shootings, police said.
A manhunt is currently underway for the suspect, identified by police as 39-year-old Francisco Oropeza, according to ABC station KTRK in Houston.
A judge has issued an arrest warrant for Oropeza and assigned a $5 million bond. Authorities believe Oropeza left by walking or on a bicycle and is currently within a two mile radius of the scene, KTRK reported.
Police said the incident occurred at 11:31 p.m. local time on Friday when officials from the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office received a call about harassment in the town of Cleveland, about 55 miles north of Houston.
When authorities arrived at the location, they found several victims shot at the property, police said. Three of the deceased were females and two were males, including the youngest, an 8-year-old boy.
Two female victims were discovered in the bedroom lying on top of two surviving children, authorities told ABC News.
Three minors were located uninjured, but covered in blood. They were transported to a local hospital.
Police said they believe the massacre occurred after neighbors asked the suspect to stop shooting his gun in the front yard because there was a baby trying to sleep.
“My understanding is that the victims, they came over to the fence and said ‘Hey could [you not do your] shooting out in the yard? We have a young baby that’s trying to go to sleep,” and he had been drinking and he says ‘I’ll do what I want to in my front yard,'” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers told KTRK.
Capers told KTRK the case went from harassment to a shooting very quickly. He said that authorities believed some of the victims were trying to shield their children — with bodies found on top of children who were unharmed.
“In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them babies alive,” Capers told KTRK.
Authorities said Oropeza is armed with an AR-15 style rifle and was believed to be intoxicated. Deputies describe Oropeza as a Hispanic man who is 5-foot-8. He was last seen wearing jeans, a black shirt and work boots. Investigators said he has a goatee and short black hair, according to KTRK.
Police said the suspect “has been known to shoot his .223 out in his front yard, which is evident by the shell casings that are laying in the front yard.”
Capers said the shooter used a .223 rifle in the shooting. Capers could not confirm how many times his deputies had been called to the shooter’s property previously.
At least 10 people were in the home when police arrived on scene and all of the victims were between the ages of eight and 40.
Capers believes the 10 people in the home lived together, with four to five of them just moving into the home from Houston within the last three or four days.
Residents are being told to “stay inside [and] stay clear” of the crime scene until the investigation has concluded, but do not believe the suspect, a Mexican national, is in the area.
“We are getting closer to him every minute of every hour but we know who he is,” Capers told KTRK.
Police did not disclose the identity of the victims but said the shootings all took place in one home, the victims were all from Honduras and that four of the victims were declared dead at the scene. The fifth victim — an 8-year-old boy — was taken to a hospital and he has since been pronounced dead.
Capers told KTRK all of the victims were shot from the neck up “almost execution style.”
Capers said footage from a Ring doorbell at the victims’ house shows the shooter entering the home where the shooting took place with a weapon.
Police found two other weapons in the house in a search following the shooting. Capers also confirmed they are interviewing the shooter’s wife.
Nearby resident, Veronica Pineda, spoke with KTRK and said she has grown accustomed to neighbors shooting firearms in the area.
“There’s always shootings, there’s always shooting,” she said to KTRK. “There’s always people calling the cops and there’s nothing being done.”
She said that neighbors would frequently shoot firearms on weekends and holidays and that the sound of gunshots overnight was normal.
“We were in bed and my kids — I have two babies — they got scared, and we’re like, ‘it’s normal they’re always shooting.'”
She said she did not know the alleged shooter well but she would wave to him when he would pass by with his horses.
ABC News’ Jessica Gorman contributed to this report.
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