Shooter Kills Five People in Texas and Still At Large, Officials Say

CLEVELAND, Texas — The loud, fast blast of a gun kept baby Wilson Garcia awake Friday night, so he asked the neighbor who shot him if he could stop.

Authorities said his neighbor, Francisco Oropeza, 38, who was drinking, said no. His yard, he says, is the rule.

Mr. Garcia warned that he would call the police. But after Mr. Oropeza walked back to his house, he reappeared, armed with a gun.

He walked towards Mr. Garcia's cream-colored house, where he shot Mr. Garcia's wife, Sonia Guzman Taibo, who was standing near the entrance and called the police.

The rioting continued inside Mr Garcia's home, where authorities said Mr Oropeza shot dead four more people, including a 15-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, “almost like execution.”

“He wants to kill us all so as not to leave any evidence behind,” said Mr. Garcia.

The episode in Cleveland, Texas, which is about 45 miles northeast of Houston, shocked a nation already tired of shootings that appeared to be sparked by mix-ups and casual interactions, such as neighbors' complaints.

This month, a 16-year-old in Missouri who rang the wrong doorbell was shot by a home owner, a 20-year-old woman in upstate New York was shot dead after driving into the wrong driveway and two cheerleaders in Texas were shot in the aftermath. someone got into the wrong car.

The shooting late Friday sparked a widespread search for the gunman, who may have fled the area and remained at large as of Saturday night.

Three other people were taken to hospital after the shooting which occurred around 11:30 p.m. Their condition is unknown. All of the victims were from Honduras, officials said.

Four people were pronounced dead at the scene and a fifth died in hospital, the San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office said.

Two of the victims were women. A man, a 15-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy also died. The identities of the victims have not been released.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are searching homes and wooded areas on foot and with drones to find Mr. Oropeza, Sheriff Greg Capers of San Jacinto County said in a telephone interview on Saturday.

He said investigators believed Mr. Oropeza was drinking and opening fire in his driveway when the victims walked over to ask him to stop.

“He said, ‘I'm going to do what I want on my front page,'” Sheriff Capers told reporters earlier on Saturday.

Sheriff Caper to journalists that Mr. Oropeza was known to “frequently” fire AR-15s in his front yard. Officials said Oropeza fired a semi-automatic weapon, but it was unclear what type of firearm was used in Friday night's attack.

Mr Garcia, who moved to the United States from Honduras three years ago, said he had “never had a problem” with Mr Oropeza, who once helped Mr Garcia chop trees.

Mr Garcia said that after Mr Oropeza shot his wife the gunman chased him. Mr. Garcia escaped through the window and ran out.

“I thought he would follow me,” he said. “But after he couldn't catch me, he returned home to finish them off.”

Mr Garcia said he went to a family member's house to hide. When she returned to her house, she found her two children hiding in the cupboard.

According to Carlos Ramirez, Mr. Garcia, the two women killed protecting an 18-month-old boy and a 3-year-old girl, who survived.

“They hugged them,” said Mr. Garcia.

Robert Freyer, first assistant district attorney for the criminal district attorney's office in San Jacinto County, said there were 10 people in the home, although Mr. Ramirez said there were 12 of them.

“Everyone who was shot was shot from the neck up, almost execution style,” Sheriff Capers said.

Enrique Reina, Honduran foreign minister, told Twitter that the Honduran consulate is in contact with the authorities in Texas and monitoring the situation.

“We demand that all laws be applied against those responsible for this crime,” he wrote in Spanish.

Susan Ard, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland Independent School District, said Saturday that the district was aware of one victim, a third-grade boy, who attended Northside Elementary School.

The school district is “deeply saddened to learn of the news of the death of one of our students,” he said, adding that the boy's name had not been released. “All our prayers and thoughts are with the families and communities affected by this terrible tragedy.”

In the rural community of mostly Latino families, neighbors said Saturday that gunshots in the area were common.

“There's always gunfire here,” said Veronica Pineda, 34. “For us, this is something normal.”

Pineda's mother said she did not know Mr. Oropeza and his family but they had lived in the neighborhood for about five years. He occasionally saw Mr. Oropeza riding on the road.

“He would go for walks with his horse, and he always looked so calm,” said Ms. Pineda, added that Mr. Oropeza and his family were known to have parties late into the night.

Guadalupe Calderon, 47, who lives in the neighborhood, said firing “a few bullets on their property doesn't mean that they are criminals.”

“This could happen anywhere,” said Ms. Calderon, adding that the public was shocked by the shooting. “We are all neighbors here, and we have to take care of each other. God only knows why he did it. Maybe they just don't get along.

Neelam Bohra And Euan Ward reporting contribution.