The Texas man accused of shooting dead five people, including a nine-year-old boy, has been finally arrested following a four-day extensive manhunt across the state. Francisco Oropesa, 38, was found hiding underneath a laundry in a Texas home from where he was arrested on Tuesday evening.
Oropesa reportedly opened fire on his neighbors after they asked him to stop shooting in his yard in the middle of the night so they could put a baby to sleep. The shooting took place on April 28, leading to a nationwide manhunt. Oropesa's arrest comes as it was revealed that he had an elaborate death cult shrine and links to the criminal underworld.
Running From the Police
Oropesa was arrested in the city of Conroe about 6:30 pm, just 75 minutes after receiving a tip informing officials of the fugitive's location, according to authorities.
The suspectâa Mexican national who has reportedly been deported four timesâwas taken into custody without any incident.
"We just want to thank the person who had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect's location," FBI assistant special agent-in-charge Jimmy Paul said on Tuesday.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers referred to the suspect as a "coward" and claimed that Oropesa was "caught hiding in a closet underneath some laundry" in a press conference held on Tuesday evening.
He will be taken to the county jail where he will be jailed on a $5 million bond after being slapped with five charges of murder, according to Capers.
"They can rest easy now," Capers said of the victims' loved ones. "Because he is behind bars and he will live out his life behind bars for killing those five."
Texas and the FBI offered a combined $80,000 reward for any vital information regarding Oropesa's whereabouts.
Capers promised to pay the caller who provided the priceless tip.
A video emerged showing a man sitting in the passenger side of a pick-up truck shirtless and shackled surfaced online moments after Oropesa's arrest. He was surrounded by at least three law enforcement officers.
Connection With Underworld
It came as it was revealed that a shrine to the "Santa Muerte death cult" was discovered in the Oropesa's room after the massacre, an officer working on the case who spoke anonymously to the Center for Immigration Studies claimed.
Investigators believe that Oropesa could have fled to Mexico because of his connections to the criminal underworld as the cult is popular among Mexican drug gangs. On Monday, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that Oropesa had been deported four times since 2009.
The Santa Muerte cult's followers, many of whom are drug lords, believe that their "prayers" will shield them from capture.
The shrine was discovered perched atop glass bookcases in Oropesa's bedroom. Candles from the display were still burning when he started shooting on Friday. According to the report, the candles featured "saints" from the death cult, who frequently represent the grim reaper.
Several statues resembling Catholic patron saints were also found along with fresh flowers and several $2 bills. According to the news source, a tinfoil-wrapped offering of cocaine was also uncovered.
Oropesa also had multiple tattoos of the 'saints' on his body and seemed to be deeply involved in the cult He has a tattoo of a skeleton sitting on a pedestal wearing a cloak on his arm.
On the inside of his forearm, a sizable tattoo depicted what appeared to be a female Aztec wearing a headdress.
Police didn't have enough evidence from the shrine to suspect Oropesa of being involved in drug offenses, but the source said the gunman's tattoos might indicate otherwise.
The frantic manhunt, which involved more than 250 officers from the FBI and other law enforcement organizations, came to a conclusion with Tuesday's arrest. Authorities claim that Oropesa fired and killed five of his neighbors after being told to stop firing rounds in his yard in the Cleveland, Texas area.
Two women were found dead in front of the home in Cleveland, a city located just north of Houston when authorities said they rushed to the scene at 11.30 pm. A man was found dead in the living room.
Sheriff Greg Capers of San Jacinto County reported that the two women were covered in blood and were lying over two little infants who were alive.
"In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them babies alive," he said.
The victims have since been identified as Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, 8, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, and Julisa Molina Rivera, 31.
According to Capers, they were all Honduran nationals who were shot "from the neck up" in their home.
Three children who were unharmed were among the 10 individuals living in the house, according to Capers.