A massive manhunt is underway for a Cleveland, Texas man who allegedly killed five of his neighbors with an AR-15 after they asked him to stop firing the weapon in his yard on Friday night. CNN noted on Monday that “more than 200 officers from multiple law enforcement agencies” are in pursuit of thirty-eight-year-old Francisco Oropesa, whose capture carries an $80,000 reward.
“Nine-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso-Guzman was shot and killed. So were Sonia Argentina Gúzman, 25; Diana Velázquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31, and José Jonathan Cásarez, 18,” CNN reported. “All five were shot ‘almost execution style’ – above the neck at close range, the sheriff said.”
Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a statement on Sunday addressing the massacre. But his decision to refer to the victims as “illegal immigrants” caught the attention of immigration rights activist Carlos Eduardo Espina, who discovered that Abbott’s assumption was incorrect about at least one of the individuals.
“I just spoke to the husband of one of the victims. He confirmed to me that his wife was a permanent resident of the US. He even sent me a picture of her ID confirming this,” Espina tweeted late Sunday night. “But I guess to Greg Abbott, anyone who is from another country is an ‘illegal immigrant’. Shameful.”
On Monday morning, conservative commentator Charlie Sykes, the editor-in-chief of The Bulwark, also harshly criticized Abbott’s choice of words.
“Well, that’s an extraordinary moment that he felt the need to do that. This was, this cried out for a little bit of compassion or some leadership. Of course, we got neither of those,” Sykes opined to Morning Joe on MSNBC.
Sykes tore into the GOP for its all-encompassing devotion to weapons of mass death and the National Rifle Association:
Look, the Republican Party is, has paralyzed itself. It is, it allowed itself to be held hostage to the NRA, to the most extreme voices. This is, this is not new. But you know what’s, what’s amazing is how, how deeply invested they are in the narrative that an armed society is a polite society. That the Second Amendment is about what, a well-regulated militia. That more guns means less crime. Well, you know, think about the last week. Think about all those stories, Jonathan [Lemire], that you just told. What we are seeing in this country — we are seeing a country overrun by guns in which people distrust one another, they fear one another, and in which we continue to have our quote-unquote thought leaders who are ginning up that kind of dislike and disdain for one another. So we’re having shootouts in parking lots, shootouts in people’s driveways, on people’s porches. And I would like to say that some of this is going to shock the conscience of the nation, but I’m afraid the conscience of the nation, or at least the Republican Party, has been numbed for too long about all of this.