White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spent over a minute addressing a shooting that broke out in Cleveland, Texas, at Monday’s briefing without once mentioning the suspected shooter appears to be an illegal immigrant.
Mexican national Francisco Oropesa Perez-Torres, 38, allegedly fatally shot five people, including an 8-year-old, in “execution style” killings Friday. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) Monday that the suspected shooter was previously ordered to be removed by an immigration judge on March 16, 2009. (RELATED: Man Accused Of Murdering Five ‘Execution Style’ Was Previous-Deported Illegal Immigrant, ICE Says)
Jean-Pierre addressed that the shooter used an AR-15-style rifle in the shooting and that Congress must ban so-called “weapons of war.”
“In all, five people were murdered by an individual armed with a powerful AR-15 style rifle,” she said. “As the manhunt for the suspected assailant continues, we urge the public to heed all guidance from law enforcement officials and stay safe. Federal law enforcement agencies have been providing assistance and support to local law enforcement as they work to respond to this tragedy and locate the suspect.”
She said President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting Saturday morning and he is “praying” for the victims and community. The press secretary then said prayers are not enough, and that “weapons of war” have to be taken away.
“It is entirely within our power to take these weapons of war off our streets. The majority of Americans and the majority of gun owners support common sense measures to reduce gun violence,” she added. “The president continues to believe that Congress must act without delay. It’s not too late to save lives and prevent the next mass shooting.”
Perez-Torres returned to the U.S. illegally at an unknown times and location after being removed by an immigration judge, ICE told the DCNF. He was arrested and removed by ICE in September 2009, January 2012 and July 2016. He also spent time in jail for driving under the influence in January 2012.
Authorities are currently conducting a manhunt to track down the suspect.