A four-day manhunt in Texas for a gunman accused of killing five neighbors ended Tuesday when authorities, acting on a tip, said they found the suspect hiding underneath a pile of laundry in the closet of a house.
Francisco Oropeza, 38, was captured without incident near the community of Conroe, north of Houston and about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from his home in the rural town of Cleveland. That’s where authorities say he went next door and shot his neighbors with an AR-style rifle shortly before midnight Friday.
Oropeza had been shooting rounds on his property and the attack occurred after neighbors asked him to go farther away because the gunfire was keeping a baby awake, according to police.
Oropeza will be charged with five counts of murder, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said. Bond was set at $5 million.
“They can rest easy now, because he is behind bars,” Capers said of the families of the victims. “He will live out his life behind bars for killing those five.”
The arrest ends what had become a widening dragnet that had grown to more than 250 people from multiple jurisdictions and had seen $80,000 in reward money offered. As recently as Tuesday morning, the FBI said that Oropeza “could be anywhere,” underlining how investigators for days struggled to get a sense of his whereabouts and candidly acknowledged they had no leads.
The tip that finally ended the chase came at 5:15 p.m., and a little more than an hour later, Oropeza was in custody, said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jimmy Paul. The alleged shooter is a Mexican national who has been deported four times between 2009 and 2016, according to U.S. immigration officials
Connor Hagan, an FBI spokesman, said they would not disclose the identity of the person who called in the tip—one of more than 200 tips he says investigators received. Authorities did not say who owned the house, whether Oropeza knew them or if anyone else was inside when he was found.
They also would not say whether friends or family had helped Oropeza evade capture, or where he had been since fleeing the scene in Cleveland, which authorities previously said was likely on foot.
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