Defense attorney: Not all has been revealed about what led to Texas mass shooting

May 18, 2023, 2:16 PM

Francisco Oropeza, center, is escorted to the San Jacinto County courthouse by San Jacinto County S...

Francisco Oropeza, center, is escorted to the San Jacinto County courthouse by San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, right, for a hearing Thursday, May 18, 2023, in Coldspring, Texas. Oropeza is suspected of killing five people, including a 9-year-old boy, after neighbors asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for the man accused of killing five of his neighbors after storming into their Texas home suggested on Thursday that not all has been revealed about what led up to the deadly shooting and that the suspect was someone who was generous and well-liked.

Francisco Oropeza, 38, made his initial court appearance Thursday following All five victims were from Honduras.

Oropeza, dressed in a faded pink and white striped prison uniform, did not say anything to reporters as he was led into a courthouse in Coldspring, Texas, located about 60 miles (97 km) north of Houston. He also did not speak during the procedural court hearing. Oropeza is a Mexican national who has been deported four times between 2009 and 2016, U.S. immigration officials said.

After the hearing, his attorneys said it’s still too early to know what happened on the night of the killings and that tension between Oropeza and his neighbors had been building for quite some time.

“The initial story about asking him not to shoot his gun in the backyard because a baby was sleeping is probably not going to prove to be an accurate version of the events,” said Anthony Osso, one of Oropeza’s attorneys.

Osso said that while the killings have been presented as a mass shooting, it will end up being “a different kind of situation.”

Wilson Garcia, whose wife and 9-year-old son were two of the people killed, previously told reporters he and two others had “respectfully” asked Oropeza if he could shoot farther away from his home because Garcia’s newborn son was trying to sleep.

“He told us he was on his property and he could do what he wanted,” Garcia had said after a vigil at his son’s school on April 30.

Osso said Oropeza and his neighbors had been friends. Oropeza, a tradesman, would help anyone in the neighborhood who needed any electrical or plumbing work done, his lawyers said.

The relationship between Oropeza and his neighbors “started to go downhill” after the neighbors’ dogs went into Oropeza’s yard and killed his family’s sheep and chickens, Osso said.

Lisa Andrews, another of Oropeza’s attorneys, said what led up to the shooting is “much more complicated and much different a picture than that original witness statement.”

Both Andrews and Osso declined to comment on what happened the night of the shooting or what Oropeza might have told them about it.

Garcia said he never had problems with Oropeza and that their wives sometimes talked. He said Oropeza had once helped him cut down a tree.

Rob Freyer, the first assistant district attorney with the San Jacinto County district attorney’s office, declined to comment on the claims by Oropeza’s attorneys that not all has been revealed about what led up to the shooting.

“It was a massacre. The whole world knows that … It was a tragedy,” Freyer said.

Andrews said she expects the murder charges against Oropeza to be upgraded to capital murder, which would make him eligible for the death penalty.

San Jacinto County District Attorney Todd Dillon said Oropeza’s case will likely not be presented to a grand jury until next month.

Oropeza’s next court date is Aug. 10. His wife and one of Oropeza’s friends have each been charged with hindering the apprehension or prosecution of a known felon.


Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter:

United States News

This photo provided by the chipmaker Nvidia shows the company’s HGX H100 module, which can use as...

Associated Press

AI chips are hot. Here’s what they are, what they’re for and why investors see gold

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The hottest thing in technology is an unprepossessing sliver of silicon closely related to the chips that power video game graphics. It’s an artificial intelligence chip, designed specifically to make building AI systems such as ChatGPT faster and cheaper. Such chips have suddenly taken center stage in what some experts consider […]

24 hours ago

Natalie R. Coles, vice president & chief development officer at Wilberforce University, poses on th...

Associated Press

US companies, nudged by Black employees, have stepped up donations to HBCUs

Natalie Coles will never forget receiving an unexpected phone call in 2020. On the line was Virginia-based Dominion Energy, offering to give money to Wilberforce University, the small historically Black college where she is in charge of fundraising. The company’s $500,000 donation went in part toward laptops and hot spots for students when the pandemic […]

24 hours ago

FILE - This booking photo provided by the Clay County, Mo., Sheriff's Office shows Andrew Lester. L...

Associated Press

Judge agrees to seal court documents in Ralph Yarl shooting; suspect to be in court

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City man accused of shooting a Black teenager who mistakenly came to his door last month is scheduled to be back in court Thursday, days after a judge ruled that court documents in the case will be sealed and kept from the public. The hearing for 84-year-old Andrew Lester […]

24 hours ago

FILE - Susana Lujano, left, a dreamer from Mexico who lives in Houston, joins other activists to ra...

Associated Press

Revised DACA program to be debated before Texas judge who previously ruled against it

HOUSTON (AP) — A revised version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is set to be debated Thursday before a federal judge who previously ruled the program illegal. Attorneys representing the nine states that have sued to end the Deferred Action […]

24 hours ago

FILE - Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case that lega...

Associated Press

LGBTQ+ Pride month kicks off with protests, parades, parties

NEW YORK (AP) — The start of June marks the beginning of Pride month around the U.S. and some parts of the world, a season to celebrate the lives and experiences of LGBTQ+ communities and to protest against recent attacks on hard-won civil rights gains. This year’s Pride takes place in a contentious political climate […]

24 hours ago

Associated Press

After sailing though House on bipartisan vote, Biden-McCarthy debt ceiling deal now goes to Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veering away from a default crisis, the House overwhelmingly approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, sending the deal that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated to the Senate for swift passage in a matter of days, before a fast-approaching deadline. The hard-fought compromise pleased few, but lawmakers assessed […]

24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]



Why drug-free weight loss still matters

Wanting to lose weight is a common goal for many people as they progress throughout life, but choosing between a holistic approach or to take medicine can be a tough decision.

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...

Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.

Defense attorney: Not all has been revealed about what led to Texas mass shooting