Texas Shooting: Family Called Cops 5 Times

Wilson Garcia talks about the events that led up to the slayings of his wife, son, 3 others
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 1, 2023 12:20 PM CDT
Texas Shooting: Family Called Cops 5 Times
Mass shooting survivor Wilson Garcia, center, holds a young girl during a vigil for his son Daniel Enrique Laso, 9, Sunday, April 30, 2023, in Cleveland, Texas. Garcia's son and wife were killed in the shooting Friday night.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Wilson Garcia hadn’t even asked his neighbor to stop shooting his gun. People in their rural Texas town are used to people firing their weapons to blow off steam, but it was late Friday, and Garcia had a month-old son who was crying. So, Garcia tells the AP, he and two other people went to his neighbor’s house to “respectfully” ask that he shoot farther away from their home. "He told us he was on his property, and he could do what he wanted,” Garcia said Sunday after a vigil in Cleveland, Texas, for his 9-year-old son who was killed in the attack that soon followed. The suspect, 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza, remained at large Monday morning despite a search involving more than 200 police from multiple jurisdictions.

Garcia called the police after Oropeza rejected his request—he called five times in the span of 10 minutes, reports USA Today. Five times the dispatcher assured that help was coming. Then, 10 to 20 minutes after Garcia had walked back from Oropeza's house, the man started running toward him, and reloading. "I told my wife, ‘Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon,” Garcia said. "My wife told me to go inside because ‘he won’t fire at me, I’m a woman.'" The gunman walked up to the home and began firing. Garcia’s wife, Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, was at the front door, and the first to die. The house held 15 people, several who had been there to join Garcia’s wife on a church retreat. The gunman seemed intent on killing everyone, Garcia said.

Among the dead were Garcia’s son, Daniel Enrique Laso, and two women who died while shielding Garcia’s baby and 2-year-old daughter. Garcia said one of the women told him to jump out a window “because my children were without a mother and one of their parents had to stay alive" to care for them. “I am trying to be strong for my children," Garcia said, crying. “My daughter sort of understands. It is very difficult when she begins to ask for mama and for her brother." There is a total of $80,000 in rewards for information about Oropeza’s whereabouts. "I can tell you right now, we have zero leads,” said James Smith, the FBI special agent in charge. (More mass shootings stories.)

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