NewsNationalScripps News


Neighbors complain about police response in Texas shooting

People in the Trail's End subdivision, where five members of a family were killed, say the area is overlooked by police
Neighbors complain about police response in Texas shooting
Posted at 6:38 PM, May 02, 2023

An impromptu memorial serves as a terrible reminder of the familiarity of mass shootings in the U.S. 

Nine-year-old Isaia Orellana was best friends with the youngest of the five victims of the shooting in Cleveland, Texas. His mother, comforting him at a vigil, says her son was in disbelief that nine-year-old Daniel Enrique Laso was gone. 

"We showed him the picture and he started crying and crying. He said 'Oh my god they killed my best friend,'" said Dulce Reyes, Orellana's mom.  

A letter propped near the teddy bears, flowers and candles says Laso played soccer with his friends. His school organized a memorial too.

"I would say a model Northside student. Every picture I saw, his smile was contagious and it was ear to ear. Those around him appeared to be happy as well," said Pete Armstrong, the principal at Northside Elementary. As police continue the search for the suspect they say fired indiscriminately at his neighbors' house because they asked that he stop firing his high velocity rifle next door, people in the Trail's End subdivision describe an area often overlooked by police.

"Nothing surprises us in Trail's End. This is the land of wolves. There is shooting here all day everyday," said neighbor Dale Tiller. 

Tiller and his wife Annalisha say people feel ignored, judging by how many potholes pockmark their subdivision streets. They say the suspect had a history of shooting in his yard. 

SEE MORE: Here's how FBI manhunts work

"Scared? I'm mad that I don’t have law enforcement that protects me. I’m mad that we as a community, that we have to protect ourselves," said Annalisha Tiller. 

"We’re scared. We don’t feel safe. We don’t feel safe with this guy on the loose," said Dale Tiller. 

One of the survivors told reporters he called police multiple times about his neighbor Francisco Oropeza firing his AR-style rifle Friday night, but their response came too late. San Jacinto county’s sheriff said he only had three deputies to cover around 600 square miles that Friday. He didn’t dispute how survivors characterized the 911 calls, agreeing that county resources are scarce in rural Texas. 

James Thurmond, an expert in county administration and budgets, says multiple factors could have slowed the deputy’s response to the scene. 

"There’s a world of difference between resources available for police or the sheriff's department. Another dimension I've thought about was the fact that the law enforcement officers, they know if there's a lot of false alarms, or low priority calls that come up in an area. So there are always aware in that how many calls have come from here before?" Thurmond said. 

The manhunt stretches into another day, with the FBI taking the lead in the search, collecting more evidence from the suspect’s house. Agents are analyzing hundreds of pieces of information. The suspect’s face is plastered on banners, posters and advisories written in two languages. 

People in Cleveland, Texas are not reassured.  

"We are very worried because we can’t rest easily, thinking that at any time right? We don’t know where this person is, we don’t know anything about this person. So, we’re worried because he may be in the neighborhood, anywhere," said Idalmy Hernandez, a neighbor. 

Trending stories at