Texas Governor’s Tweet on Cleveland Murders Draws Criticism
The Cleveland shooting that occurred on April 28, 2023, has led to widespread condemnation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, whose insensitive tweet was viewed as “victim shaming” by many Twitter users. The incident saw five fatalities, including a 9-year-old and an 18-year-old, allegedly at the hands of Francisco Oropesa. According to interviews conducted by ABC 13 in Houston, the shooter was possibly inebriated and firing rounds from an AR-15 outside the victim’s home, prompting the police to respond.
The manhunt for Oropesa is currently underway, with more than 250 officers involved in the search, according to CNN. Governor Abbott, in a show of force, announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to Oropesa’s capture via Twitter. However, the tweet drew widespread criticism for “victim shaming,” referencing the citizenship status of the individuals involved in the shooting.
Carlos Eduardo Espina, a prominent immigrant activist, revealed that the governor’s tweet was inaccurate, at least in the case of one of the victims. Espina tweeted that Diana Velasquez Alvarado, one of the five casualties, was a permanent resident of the USA, dispelling the governor’s claims that all the victims were illegal immigrants.
Many critics argued that the status of the victims’ citizenship, legal or illegal, should not play a role in the discussion. The Governor’s claim was also challenged by Bud Kennedy, who notably stated that only the federal government could accurately determine anyone’s civil immigration status.
Senator Roland Gutierrez was quick to hold Governor Abbot accountable, calling out his rather inconsequential action in dealing with gun violence. Gutierrez suggested that Abbot should focus on taking political action to prevent the use of guns in violence rather than using his official platform to make controversial tweets.
It is worth noting that Operation Lone Star, which Governor Abbott enlisted to help find the shooter, is a costly and controversial border patrol effort that has been associated with accusations and litigation involving civil rights since its launch in 2021. There have been no further updates regarding the victims of the Cleveland shooting or the reward offered by the Governor’s office since the tweet. Calls to the Governor’s office requesting additional comments have gone unanswered.