Five people killed, including eight-year-old child, in AR-style rifle attack at Texas home
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A US gunman has shot dead five neighbours, including an eight-year-old child, after they asked him to stop shooting an AR-15-style weapon in his front yard so a baby could sleep.
San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said authorities were still searching for 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza following the shooting in the town of Cleveland, about 72 kilometres north of Houston.
He said Mr Oropeza used an AR-style rifle in the attack, which happened shortly before midnight on Friday (local time).
"All of his rounds were from the neck up, so basically in the head," Sheriff Capers said.
By late Saturday morning, Sheriff Capers said authorities were using scent-tracking dogs and an overhead drone in the search for Mr Oropeza, who they believe was intoxicated at the time of the shooting and then fled toward a heavily wooded forest a few kilometres from the scene.
Sheriff Capers said there were 10 people in the house — some who has just moved there earlier in the week — but that no one else was injured.
He said two of the victims, all believed to be from Honduras, were found laying over two surviving children in a bedroom.
"The Honduran ladies that were laying over these children were doing it in such an effort as to protect the child," Sheriff Capers said.
Two other victims, a male and female, were found by the front door and the slain child was in the front room.
Sheriff Capers said three other "blood-covered" children were found in the home and taken to a hospital, where they were determined to be uninjured.
The confrontation followed family members walking up to the fence and asking the suspect to stop shooting, Sheriff Capers said.
"The man walked over to the fence, said 'hey, we're trying to keep the baby asleep in here'," he said.
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Both parties then went back to their houses, said Sheriff Caper, where the shooter "topped off his magazine, and walked down his driveway" onto the street then "into the people's house and started shooting".
Sheriff Capers said his deputies had been to Mr Oropeza's home at least once before and had spoken with him about "shooting his gun in the yard".
It was not immediately clear whether any action was taken at the time.
Sheriff Capers said the new arrivals in the home had moved from Houston earlier in the week, but he did not know whether they were planning to stay there.
Across the US since January 1, there have been at least 18 shootings that left four or more people dead, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today, in partnership with Northeastern University.
The attack was the latest act of gun violence in what has been a record pace of mass shootings in the US so far this year, some of which have also involved semiautomatic rifles.
Texas has confronted multiple mass shootings in recent years, including last year's attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde; a racist attack at an El Paso Walmart in 2019; and a gunman opening fire at a church in the tiny town of Sutherland Springs in 2017.
Republican leaders in Texas have rejected calls for new firearm restrictions, including this year over the protests of several families who children were killed in Uvalde.
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