"My son, he died because he was defending his mother," Wilson Garcia said.
Trigger Warning: This story contains themes of gun violence which some readers may find distressing.
A Texas man is grieving the loss of his loved ones. A gunman allegedly stormed his home, killing his wife, Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, his 9-year-old son, and three family friends—Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; and Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18. A tearful Wilson Garcia told reporters he's "trying to be strong" for his other children, as police continue to search for the neighbor accused in the mass shooting: Francisco Oropesa, 38. The incident took place on Friday, April 28, night in Cleveland, Texas, 45 miles north of Houston, per PEOPLE.
"My wife died and so did my 9-year-old son. What can I say, I am trying to stay strong for my children," Wilson Garcia said. https://t.co/ULl9ZdE9Lq— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) May 1, 2023
15 people were inside the home, including Garcia's children. "I don’t want them [authorities] to kill him [Oropesa]," Garcia told NBC News on Sunday. "All I want is for them to apprehend him, put him in jail, and make him pay for everything he did because it would be too easy if they just kill him and make his pain go away just like that."
It all started when his wife told him their month-old son was crying because of gunfire coming from Oropesa's home. The suspect was shooting rounds outside of his home before the attack. Garcia said he and the three other men went to Oropesa’s home "respectfully" requesting him to "please stop shooting, or go continue shooting further away from the house. "But he answered by saying he was on his property and could do whatever he wants," Garcia said. "I said, 'OK that's fine. It’s your property, but could you please move further away or turn it down, that’s all?' Then he began insulting us, and we told him we were calling the cops. My wife said, 'OK, let’s call the cops.' Police took, like, 20 minutes to arrive, and we called five times because the man was very threatening," he added.
Francisco Oropesa could be anywhere. The FBI is working with law enforcement agencies across the state, country and across the border. We're leaving no stone unturned. If anyone has any photos or security camera video they'd like law enforcement to see, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI pic.twitter.com/0SpHS1ztoY— FBI Houston (@FBIHouston) May 2, 2023
By then Oropeza allegedly came to their home and ran towards Garcia and began reloading his weapon. "My wife told me to go inside because 'He won't fire at me, I'm a woman,' " Garcia recalled. Sadly she was shot. "He didn’t say anything. He shot her, and the door was wide open. He walks in, room by room, shooting at us," the grieving man shared adding that his 9-year-old son met the same fate after running to his wounded mother. "My son, he died because he was defending his mother," Garcia said. "When he saw her on the floor, he ran towards her, and that man had no compassion. A kid crying for his mom," he added. Now he is trying to be strong for the rest of his children. "I am trying to be strong for my children," Garcia tearfully told reporters, "My daughter sort of understands. It is very difficult when she begins to ask for Mama and for her (older) brother."
Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25, was the first victim shot and killed in the Cleveland, Texas mass shooting this weekend. She went to the front door to talk the shooter down and protect her family. She was dedicated to her loved ones, sending support to her relatives in Honduras. pic.twitter.com/UmKWjCYq9W— Moms Demand Action (@MomsDemand) May 1, 2023
The devasted father and husband recalled the time when one of the people who died saw his wife fall to the floor and begged him to escape so that he could be there for his other children. "She was agonizing but said to me to go through the window because my children were already without a mom, and one of them had to stay alive to care for them," he said through tears.
A GoFundMe page set up for the family has raised over $50,000 as of Wednesday.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe