Texas mass shooting suspect found hiding in closet, his partner also taken into custody: Police

Francisco Oropeza allegedly killed five of 10 people inside a neighbor's home.

May 3, 2023, 6:05 PM

Francisco Oropeza, the man accused of gunning down five people in an "execution-style" mass shooting in Cleveland, Texas, was taken into custody Tuesday evening after a multiday manhunt, officials said.

Oropeza, 38, faces five counts of first-degree murder and his bond was set at $7.5 million -- $1.5 million for each count, San Jacinto County District Attorney Todd Dillon told reporters Wednesday.

The mugshot for Francisco Oropeza, the man accused of gunning down five people in an "execution-style" mass shooting in Cleveland, Texas.
San Jacinto County Sheriff

Oropeza was apprehended at a relative's house in Montgomery County, about 20 miles from Cleveland, uninjured and without incident, authorities said.

He was "caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry," San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said at a news conference.

"I believe he thought he was in a safe spot," Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim Kean said.

Oropeza's partner, Divimara Nava, was also detained at the scene where the suspect was found, Dillon said Wednesday.

Francisco Oropesa's wife, Divimara Nava, is charged with hindering the apprehension of a known felon.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

Nava allegedly provided "him with material aid and encouragement -- food, clothes -- and had arranged transport to this house," Dillon said. Authorities said that Nava appeared to be cooperating with investigators as recently as Sunday, but now, authorities say that was all a ruse.

Nava has been charged with hindering apprehension of a fugitive. Prosecutors allege she physically delivered a message to Oropeza's cousins asking them to help him flee to Mexico, which they refused. She is being held on $250,000 bail and is on immigration hold as a Mexican citizen, following an arraignment hearing Wednesday afternoon.

A second person, a friend who allegedly helped Oropeza hide, was also taken into custody in San Jacinto County, authorities said.

Authorities also recovered a weapon that may have been used in the shooting, Kean said, adding that officials were waiting for ballistics information.

The tip for the suspect's location came in through the FBI tip line, FBI assistant special agent in charge Jimmy Paul said.

Law enforcement search for the suspect a few miles from the scene where five people, including an 8-year-old child, were killed after a shooting inside a home, April 29, 2023 in Cleveland, Texas.
Go Nakamura/Getty Images

"We just want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect's location," he said.

Reward money will be given to the person who called in the tip, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear how much the person would receive. The total reward increased to $100,000 earlier Tuesday, after the U.S. Marshals announced a contribution of $20,000 on top of $25,000 from the FBI, $50,000 from the state and $5,000 from Multi-County Crime Stoppers.

A Border Patrol Tactical Unit, or BORTAC, apprehended the suspect, and air and marine operations assisted with surveillance, Troy Miller, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in a statement.

"In small towns and communities like Cleveland, Texas, the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- in particular, the U.S. Border Patrol -- provide integral law enforcement support to local authorities, protecting and serving the communities they live in," he said.

Francisco Oropesa
FBI Houston via Twitter

The massacre unfolded Friday night after neighbors asked Oropeza, 38, to stop shooting his AR-15 in his yard because a newborn was trying to sleep, authorities said.

Oropeza then allegedly stormed the neighbors' home, killing five of the 10 people inside, including a young boy, authorities said. Two of the women killed were found in a bedroom lying on top of two surviving children, authorities said.

From left to right pictures of victim of mass shooting in Cleveland, Texas are seen in this split picture: Daniel Enrique Lazo Guzmán, Sonia Argentina Guzmán Taibot, Josué Jonatan Cáceres, Diana Velasquez Alvarado, and Obdulia Molina Rivera
Left to right courtesy of Junior Izaguirre, Jeffri Rivera, Rivera family

The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office received a call around 11:31 p.m. Friday detailing harassment, Capers told reporters on Sunday. When deputies arrived at the home, they found five victims at the property, Capers said.

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, 9. Five other people who were in the home were not harmed.

A home is shown, April 30, 2023, where a mass shooting occurred Friday night, in Cleveland, Texas.
David J. Phillip/AP
A man releases a balloon from the makeshift memorial outside the victims' home, May 2, 2023, where a mass shooting occurred Friday, in Cleveland, Texas.
David J. Phillip/AP

Oropeza is a Mexican national who was previously deported four times, a source familiar with the investigation told ABC News.

He was deported on March 17, 2009, after an immigration judge ordered his removal, the source said. He unlawfully returned to the U.S., and he was then apprehended and deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in September 2009, January 2012 and July 2016, the source said.

Kean on Wednesday said he wouldn't talk much about the suspect -- or even mention his name.

"I don't think he deserves the glory for what he's done," he said.

ABC News' Matt Rivers, Jack Date, Luke Barr, Julia Jacobo, Armando Garcia, Kevin Shalvey and Izzy Alvarez contributed to this report.

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