New details have emerged about Francisco Oropesa, the undocumented immigrant accused of killing five individuals, including a young child.
According to reports, he was not only in the United States illegally, but had been deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on at least four separate occasions between 2009 and 2016.
As of the latest updates available, authorities were still trying to locate the suspect and, as San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers concluded, he “could be anywhere now.”
Oropesa allegedly gunned down a group of neighbors in Cleveland, Texas, on Friday after one of the victims asked him to refrain from firing his weapon in his yard because it was disrupting a newborn baby’s sleep.
While his immigration status has attracted some attention in light of the surge of illegal border crossings throughout the Biden administration, Capers said he remains singularly focused on tracking down the suspect.
“I don’t care if he was here legally, I don’t care if he was here illegally,” the sheriff said. “He was in my county, five people died in my county, and that is where my heart is — in my county, protecting my people to the best of our ability.”
The FBI is also involved in the ongoing manhunt, and special agent Fred Smith confirmed that the bureau has been “running into dead ends” at every turn.
Smith added that investigators had “zero leads” regarding his whereabouts.
Early information released by the FBI and other officials has since been retracted — including a photo of a man initially identified as the suspect.
In response to the agency’s retraction, a Twitter user wrote: “That is my brother who was wrongly accused. A married man with a family and a career. This is damaging to a person.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also apologized for an error in his tweet announcing a reward for information about the suspect. He initially indicated that the five victims were “illegal immigrants,” but subsequent information surfaced that showed at least one of the individuals was in the country legally.
“We’ve since learned that at least one of the victims may have been in the United States legally,” Abbott’s office wrote. “We regret if the information was incorrect and detracted from the important goal of finding and arresting the criminal.”