published by: Saurabh Verma
Last update: April 30, 2023, 8:09 a.m. HST
Police were searching Saturday for a gunman suspected of shooting and killing five Hondurans after asking him to stop late-night target practice that kept their baby awake, the local sheriff said Saturday, during the last mass shooting in the United States.
An eight-year-old child was among the victims when the apparently drunk gunman burst into the crowded house and opened fire, apparently incensed by demands to stop firing his semi-automatic weapon in his own yard.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, north of Houston, described a gruesome scene when authorities attended the residence after receiving a call about the “harassment” around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
The victims, aged between eight and 40, were strewn from the front door through the house to an inner bedroom, where two of them – both women – were found lying on top of two traumatized children who survived the massacre.
“In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them alive,” Capers told ABC’s KTRK station in Houston.
All of the victims had been shot “from the neck up, almost execution style, basically in the head”, he added.
Deputies found “several other people in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post. Three were hospitalized.
The suspect “had been drinking, and he said, ‘I’ll do whatever I want in my front yard,'” the sheriff told KTRK.
“All the victims were from Honduras,” Capers told reporters, adding that 10 people were in the house at the time.
Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina called on Twitter for the shooter to face “the full weight of the law”. He said officials would follow the case closely.
Texas authorities said an arrest warrant has been issued for Francisco Oropeza, a 39-year-old Mexican national, charging him with five counts of murder.
“We have his card from the Mexican consulate,” Capers said, adding that a security system at the victims’ home “captured him approaching the front door with a weapon.”
The shooter is believed to have left the county, but nearby residents have been asked to stay home, the sheriff’s office said on its Facebook page.
The Texas murders appeared to be the latest in a string of shootings spawned by normally mundane interactions: a man mistakenly knocking on the wrong door, a cheerleader accidentally getting into the wrong car, someone mistakenly driving in the wrong driveway, a ball rolling into a neighbor’s yard.
There have been more than 170 mass shootings – defined as four or more people injured or killed – so far this year in the United States, according to Gun Violence Archive.
The United States, with more guns than people, has the highest gun death rate of any developed country – 49,000 in 2021, up from 45,000 the previous year.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)