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Man who lost wife and 9-year-old son in Texas mass shooting shares story of wife's courage

Posted at 8:42 AM, May 01, 2023

A man who lost his wife and 9-year-old son in a mass shooting in their Texas neighborhood has opened up about the frightening incident and his wife's courage.

At a vigil on Sunday, Wilson Garcia spoke to reporters about the suspect, Francisco Oropesa, who was shooting his gun in his yard on Friday.

Garcia's month-old son was crying, so he went over to Oropesa to "respectfully" ask him to move farther away from their home. After Oropresa refused, Garcia's family called police five times, but before they arrived, Oropesa ran toward Garcia's house.

"I told my wife, 'Get inside. This man has loaded his weapon," Garcia told reporters, according to the Associated Press. "My wife told me to go inside because 'he won't fire at me, I'm a woman.'"

His wife, Sonia Guzman, was the first to die. Four others – adults Diana Velasquez and Obdulia Molina and Jonathan Caceres, 18, and Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, 9 – were also shot and killed in the home.

Wilson Garcia
Mass shooting survivor Wilson Garcia sheds a tear as he talks about his wife and son, who were killed in Friday's shooting, Sunday, April 30, 2023, at a vigil for his son in Cleveland, Texas. The search for a Texas man who allegedly shot his neighbors after they asked him to stop firing off rounds in his yard stretched into a second day Sunday, with authorities saying the man could be anywhere by now. The suspect fled after the shooting Friday night that left multiple people dead.

After losing his wife and one of his children, Garcia said he is trying to be strong for his one-month-old and 2-year-old daughter.

"My daughter sort of understands. It is very difficult when she begins to ask for mama and for her (older) brother," he said, the AP reports.

Garcia said he escaped the gunfire by jumping through a window. The suspect fled the scene and is still at large. "He could be anywhere now," San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers said.

Capers said they are "looking for closure for this family."

So far, investigators have recovered the AR-15-style rifle Oropesa is believed to have used, but they do not know if he has another weapon. They also found a phone and clothing in a densely forested area, but tracking dogs lost the scent. On Saturday, they widened their search to about 20 miles from the shooting location.