Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is drawing criticism for calling the victims of a mass shooting that occurred on Friday in Cleveland, Texas, “illegal immigrants” in the same statement that he offered his condolences to their families but refrained from mentioning that the shooter used an AR-15 style weapon in his vicious killing.
According to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, an intoxicated man shot and killed five people on Friday night, including an 8-year-old boy, after the neighbors requested he stop firing his AR-15-style rifle into the air.
Sonia Guzman, 25, Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21, Juliza Molina Rivera, 31, Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18, and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8, were the five victims that murdered in the tragic shooting. According to authorities, they were all from Honduras.
The FBI identified the shooter as 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa. He is considered dangerous and armed. According to the FBI, “If you see him, please do not approach him.” He is considered armed and dangerous. If you have a tip related to the shooting or Oropeza’s whereabouts, please call the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office at 936-653-4367. The FBI’s statement read:
Governor Abbott issued a statement on Sunday offering a $50,000 reward for information on the gunman, whom authorities warn “could be anywhere” at this point. In a statement, the governor expressed condolences to the families while labeling the victims as “illegal immigrants.”
“Governor Greg Abbott today announced a $50,000 reward for a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) top 10 fugitive who is in the country illegally and killed five illegal immigrants in a shooting Friday night in Cleveland, Texas,” Abbott’s personal Twitter account tweeted.
“I continue working with state and local officials to ensure they have all available resources to respond to this horrific crimes,” he continued without going into further detail about how they were killed.
Being a strong supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the rights to carry AR-15-style weapons is likely the reason why Abbott would rather not mention the horrific incident in detail, but that didn’t hold back elected officials, immigration activists, and gun control activists from immediately calling out the governor for his partisan and tone-deaf statement.
“This racist xenophobe can’t bring himself to say a man with easy access to an assault rifle slaughtered a family and a child in his state.” Shannon Watts, founder of “Moms Demand Action,” an organization dedicated to preventing gun violence, tweeted
“I have been chastised for some of my language on Twitter. @GregAbbott_TX, you are a low life asshole. This shooting has nothing to do with immigration status and much to do with your policies. On behalf of those like my daughter who are victims of gun violence, F*** YOU!!!” Fred Guttenberg, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Jaime in the Parkland high school shooting in 2018, tweeted.
New York Congressman Ritchie Torres, who frequently criticizes Republicans in Congress for blocking passage of gun control measures, was quite blunt in his condemnation.
“Greg Abbot’s hatred for immigrants and love of AR-15s far outweigh his humanity.” Torres wrote.