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Texas sheriff who was under scrutiny following mass shooting loses reelection bid

COLDSPRING, Texas (AP) — A Texas sheriff whose office drew national scrutiny and an FBI investigation following a shooting last year in which a man is accused of killing five of his neighbors lost his reelection bid on Tuesday.

Greg Capers had sought a fourth term as sheriff in San Jacinto County, which is about 60 miles (97 km) north of Houston.

But on Tuesday, Capers lost the Republican nomination for sheriff to San Jacinto County Precinct 3 Constable Sam Houston. With no Democratic candidates on the ballot Tuesday, Houston is set to be elected the new sheriff in November.

Capers drew criticism for initially providing inaccurate information about deputies’ response time to the April 2023 shooting in which Francisco Oropeza is accused of killing his neighbors after they had asked him to stop shooting his gun near their house. The attack happened near the town of Cleveland, north of Houston.

Some residents said they felt neglected by the sheriff’s office, complaining about minimal or no responses by deputies to shootings and other incidents.

In November, The Associated Press learned the FBI was investigating the sheriff’s office.

The federal investigation came after an AP investigation found longstanding accusations that Capers had ignored deputies’ misconduct and neglected basic police work while pursuing asset seizures that boost his office’s $3.5 million budget but don’t always hold up in court.

Capers spent decades as a deputy in the Houston-area before being elected sheriff in 2014.