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US: Texas man kills neighbors in overnight rampage

April 29, 2023

A man armed with an AR-style rifle began shooting his neighbors after complaints that he was firing rounds in his front yard. Local police said the suspect had been drinking before the rampage, which left five dead.

Police on the scene of a shooting in Cleveland, Texas
Texas authorities have widened their search for the suspected gunman, who remained at large hours after the attackImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

A Texas man killed five of his neighbors after they asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard because they were trying to sleep.

The shooting in the town of Cleveland, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Houston, was reported late on Friday evening.

San Jacinto County Sheriff, Greg Capers, said Saturday that the shooter used an AR-style rifle.

Police were still looking for the 39-year-old suspect. Over 18 hours after the shooting, he remains at large.

Authorities warned that he could still be armed.

Police found clothes and a phone while searching the rural area around where the shooting took place, but tracking dogs had lost the scent.

"He could be anywhere now," Capers said.

House in Cleveland, Texas that was the scene of a mass shooting. The house is visible behind a gate and there are scattered objects and a parked car in the front yard.
An 8-year-old child was among those killed in the shootingImage: AP Photo/picture alliance

What we know so far

Neighbors apparently asked the suspect just before midnight to stop firing rounds.

"He had been drinking and he said, 'I'll do what I want to in my front yard,'" Capers said.

The gunman allegedly then began shooting his neighbors, killing an 8-year-old and four others, inside their house. All of the victims are believed to have been Honduran nationals.

Capers said there were 10 people in the house and that no one else was injured. Investigators do not believe that they were members of the same family.

He said two of the victims were found on top of two surviving children.

"The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort as to protect them," Capers added.

"Everyone that was shot was shot from the neck up, almost execution-style," Capers said.

He said police have previously been to the suspect's home.

"Deputies have come over and spoke with him about him shooting his gun in the yard," Capers said.

The San Jacinto County Sheriff's Office said in a social media post that the suspect was thought to have left the county.

A judge had issued a warrant for the suspect's arrest and assigned a $5 million (€4.49 million) bond, it said.

Shootings in the US

The US has seen at least 18 mass killings with firearms and over 180 mass shootings since January 1, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012 defines a mass killing as "3 or more killings in a single incident." There 

The National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center (NMVVRC) defines a "mass shooting" as a homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms.

Last week, a man in the US state of Missouri was charged with armed criminal action and first-degree assault after he shot a Black teenager who rang his doorbell.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated there had been at least 18 mass shootings in the US this year. This has been amended to reflect the difference between a mass shooting and a mass killing.

lo, jsi, sdi/wd (AP, Reuters, AFP)