White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday discussed the brutal killing of five people in Texas without mentioning that the fugitive charged with the heinous crime is an illegal immigrant who had previously been deported four times.
During her daily briefing, Jean-Pierre updated on the ongoing manhunt for 38-year-old Francisco Oropesa, the Mexican national accused of shooting dead five people – including a nine-year-old boy – at a home in Cleveland. Texas last Friday.
The White House spokeswoman called for stricter gun control measures in the wake of the tragedy – but not immigration controls.
“In all, five people were murdered by one person armed with a powerful AR-15 rifle,” said Jean-Pierre from the White House briefing room podium.
“The President was briefed on the shooting Saturday morning, and he and the First Lady are praying for those killed in the attack, their families, and the entire Cleveland community,” she continued.
“But the President believes prayer alone is not enough. Congress must act because what makes tragedies like this even more heartbreaking is the fact that we have complete power to remove these weapons of war from our streets,” added Jean-Pierre.
“The majority of Americans and the majority of gun owners support sensible action to reduce gun violence. The President continues to believe that Congress must act immediately. It’s not too late to save lives and prevent the next mass shooting,” she said before moving on to other issues.
The suspected shooter has reportedly been deported four times since 2009.
According to a report by ABC News, Oropesa was first arrested and deported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March 2009.
He was subsequently deported a second time in September 2009 and a third time in January 2012 after being convicted of drunk driving in Montgomery County.
His fourth deportation took place in July 2016.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office said Oropesa was in the country illegally at the time of Friday night’s shooting.
It is unclear how Oropesa could have obtained the weapon allegedly used in the killings.
The FBI admitted on Sunday that it had “zero leads” in its search for Oropesa, who authorities say opened fire on his neighbors after being told to stop firing rounds in his yard.