HomeUSATexas mass killing suspect’s bond set at $7.5M; wife among several arrested

Texas mass killing suspect’s bond set at $7.5M; wife among several arrested

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CUT AND SHOOT, Texas — Hours after the wife of the man accused of killing five of his neighbors in their Texas home was arrested along with several other people, a judge Wednesday ordered the suspect to be held on $7.5 million bond.

Bond was set at $1.5 million each for five counts of murder at Francisco Oropesa’s magistrate hearing at the San Jacinto County Jail, District Attorney Todd Dillon said.

Oropesa had an interpreter for the hearing and “said very little,” Judge Randy Ellisor said.

Earlier in the day, San Jacinto County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Kean announced that several people had been arrested. He didn’t publicly identify them, saying the number was fewer than five.

Oropesa’s wife, Divimara Lamar Nava, 52, was among them, records show.

A man releases a balloon from the makeshift memorial outside the victims’ home Tuesday in Cleveland, Texas.David J. Phillip / AP

She listed as being in custody at the Montgomery County Jail after she was arrested just before 3 a.m. (4 a.m. ET) on a charge of hindering apprehension of a known felon, according to records. She was being held in lieu of $250,000 bond. 

Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson separately confirmed her arrest to The Associated Press, saying that she previously denied knowledge of Oropesa’s whereabouts but that authorities believe she hid him in the home near Conroe where he was arrested Tuesday.

Dillon, the district attorney, said another person, Domingo Castilla, was arrested in the investigation Tuesday night in San Jacinto County on a charge of possession of marijuana.

While Castilla is under investigation for allegedly providing material aid and assistance to Oropesa, Dillon said he was being investigated on multiple charges outside the scope of Oropesa’s arrest.

Castilla isn’t related to Oropesa but is an associate or a friend, Dillon said. Ellisor said Wednesday that Castilla’s bond was set at $5,000.

Speaking in front of the jail early Wednesday, Kean said more arrests are likely, “hinging on what’s going on right now.”

Dozens of officers swarmed house where suspect was found under hiding laundry

Kean described Oropesa’s demeanor as “calm” Wednesday morning and said he’s “probably in this jail right now having a hot breakfast.”

Oropesa, 38, was arrested in the city of Cut and Shoot on Tuesday evening, ending a four-day manhunt.

He was charged in connection with the shooting Friday in which officials said he killed five people — including a 9-year-old boy — after a neighbor asked him to stop firing his rifle because an infant was trying to sleep.

A tip led authorities to a house less than 20 miles from the site of the shooting in Cleveland, Texas, and he was found hiding in a closet underneath laundry, officials said Tuesday night.

In the Cut and Shoot neighborhood where Oropesa was arrested, neighbors said Wednesday that their street was swarmed with armed law enforcement personnel and unmarked vehicles and that a helicopter hovered above.

Hector Dominguez, 53, who lives next door to the home where authorities said Oropesa was found, recounted that he saw about 20 to 30 officers converge in the back of his neighbor’s home and about 50 more in the front.

Dominguez said he doesn’t know his neighbors and had no idea what was occurring.

While authorities were targeting the neighbor’s home, Dominguez said, an officer told him: “Take it easy. The guy is what I want.”

Dominguez said he saw a man with his hands behind his back flanked by three or four officers being taken out of the home.

Similarly, Jose Luis Zuniga, 58, said he doesn’t know the neighbors at the home where a shirtless man was captured, describing the area in Spanish as “typically a quiet neighborhood.”

Zuniga said that following media reports, he was surprised to learn that a man accused of killing five of his neighbors was apparently hiding out on his block.

“I can’t comprehend” the killings, he said. “I struggle to find the words. He killed children and women. The most innocent.”

No one was at the home Wednesday where Oropesa was arrested. Yellow police tape was in both the back and the front.

Recounting the arrest, Kean said there was “a little, simple flurry of resistance” before the suspect was taken in. There were no injuries. 

He said it’s not believed that Oropesa had been hiding out in the home for all four days. Officials haven’t disclosed his path on the run.

Speaking about the house where Oropesa was found, Kean said: “I believe he thought he was in a safe spot.”

The murder weapon

Kean said at the morning news conference that officials may have the weapon used in the mass shooting, pending confirmation by ballistics testing. 

Dillon said Wednesday afternoon that the murder weapon was found Saturday morning at the suspect’s residence. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is tracing where it came from.

It is illegal for Oropesa, as a Mexican national, to possess a firearm. In the U.S., one must be a citizen to buy firearms. 

Oropesa has been deported four times, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was removed from the U.S. twice in 2009 and once in 2012 and 2016, ICE said.

The small, insular neighborhood of Trails End, where Friday night’s carnage unfolded, proved very cooperative with law enforcement, Dillon said. Within the first hours of the manhunt, residents opened their doors for officer searches to ensure Oropesa wasn’t hiding inside.

Antonio Planas reported from Cut and Shoot, Texas; Jon Schuppe from Maplewood, New Jersey; and Marlene Lenthang from New York City.

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