Texas shooting: Two women died protecting children who survived massacre sparked by noise complaint
Two Texas women died while protecting children from a gunman who also killed three others, including an eight-year-old child.
The violence unfolded on Friday night when neighbours in the city of Cleveland, about an hour away from Houston, asked 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza to stop shooting rounds in his yard because they had sleeping children in the home, San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.
Mr Oropeza, who is said to have been intoxicated and armed with an AR-15 style rifle, allegedly stormed inside his neighbours’ home and fatally shot five people and injured three others. The fatal victims, whose ages ranged from eight to around 40, were originally from Honduras.
Hours later police were reported to have located and surrounded Mr Oropeza.
Describing the devastating scene during an early press conference on Saturday, Sheriff Capers told reporters that deputies on the night shift responded to a “harassment call” that would later unfold in the massacre. Inside a home on the 100 block of Walters Road, officers discovered four bodies with gunshots to the head and no signs of the suspect.
Two female victims were found in a bedroom, lying on top of two children who survived the ordeal, Sheriff Capers said.
“The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort as to protect the child,” the sheriff said, per the Washington Post.
A fifth victim, an eight-year-old child, died in hospital. The suspect fled the scene before authorities arrived.
The identities of the victims have not been released pending notification to their family.
Authorities have said that a family member walked up to the fence and requested the gunman stopped shooting rounds in his own backyard. The suspect then allegedly responded that it was his property and the violence unfolded.
“The neighbours walked over and said … ‘Hey man, can you not do that, we’ve got an infant in here trying to sleep’ or whatever,” San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said, per the Washington Post. “They went back in their house and then we have a video of him walking up their driveway with his AR-15.”
Mr Oropeza is described as approximately 5’8” tall, last seen wearing blue jeans with a black shirt and work boots and with short black hair, ABC reported.
The San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said that Oropeza “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”.