Texas Guv Denigrates Shooting Victims as ‘Illegal Immigrants’
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) did not miss an opportunity to label the victims of his state’s most recent high-profile shooting “illegal immigrants,” making the tone-deaf characterization in a statement on Sunday.
Abbott also referred to the suspected gunman in the case, Francisco Oropesa, as someone “who is in the country illegally” as he announced a reward for information leading to his capture.
Oropesa, 38, is believed to have gunned down five people, including an eight-year-old boy, after he was asked to stop firing a weapon in his front yard last week.
I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday. Also directed #OperationLoneStar to be on the lookout.
I continue working with state & local officials to ensure all available resources are deployed to respond. pic.twitter.com/SpkUgKqKGe
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 30, 2023
“I’ve announced a $50K reward for info on the criminal who killed 5 illegal immigrants Friday,” Abbott tweeted alongside the statement, in which he was quoted as saying, “Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of the five victims that were taken in this senseless act of violence.”
“I continue working with state and local officials to ensure they have all available resources to respond to this horrific crimes,” he continued.
“I thank the men and women in law enforcement who are tirelessly working to ensure this criminal is caught and brought to justice.”
The governor’s statement drew immediate criticism, including from Star Trek actor George Takei, who has previously spoken out in favor of gun control.
“This is despicable,” he wrote. “I would have thought bringing up the immigration status of the innocent victims of this senseless violence would be beneath even you. But I was wrong.”
Abbott’s offer of $50,000 comes in addition to the $80,000 reward currently being offered by the FBI, which admitted over the weekend that investigators “do not know where [Oropesa] is.”
“We do not have any tips right now as to where he may be,” said James Smith, the FBI special agent in charge in the Houston area. Right now, we have zero leads.”
More than 200 law enforcement agents were actively searching for Oropesa on Sunday.
The five victims killed in the shooting have been identified as Sonia Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Juliza Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso, 8. All were from Honduras, according to officials.
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