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Houston, May 3 – Following an extensive search involving over 250 US law enforcement officers, a man accused of shooting and killing five of his neighbours, including a nine-year-old child, in Texas was finally arrested, authorities said.
Addressing the media on Tuesday night, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said the suspect, Francisco Oropesa, was found in a house just miles from the home in Cleveland, Texas, where the brutal killings took place on April 29, reports CNN.
Oropesa, 38, was “caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry”, Sheriff Capers said, adding that “they (police officers) effectively made the arrest; he is uninjured; and he is currently being taken to my facility in Coldspring”.
The mass shooting occurred at a private residence in Cleveland — about 40 miles northeast of state capital Houston. The victims, were identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman, nine.
They were all Honduran nationals.
At the same press conference, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Paul said that a tip submitted through the FBI’s tip line ultimately led authorities to the suspect’s location.
“We just want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect’s location,” he said, adding that the tip came in at 5.15 p.m. on Tuesday evening and Oropesa was arrested at 6.30 p.m.
Although Oropesa’s current immigration status is unknown, he had entered the US illegally and been deported by immigration officials at least four times since 2009, CNN quoted an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official as saying who identified the suspect as Francisco Oropesa Perez-Torres.
An immigration judge first removed him in March 2009 before he was deported again in September 2009, January 2012, and July 2016, the official said.
It is not known how long Oropesa has been in the US since his last deportation.
Since the killings, authorities had urged the public to come forward with any information and devoted substantial resources to track down the suspect, including an $80,000 in rewards for tips leading to his arrest.