At Least 5 Dead, 21 Injured In West Texas Shooting

Aug 31, 2019
Originally published on September 1, 2019 11:43 am

Police say a man hijacked a postal truck and began shooting people at random in the Midland and Odessa areas of Texas on Saturday, leaving at least five people dead and 21 others injured.

The chaotic afternoon began with a traffic stop and ended with police shooting the gunman dead. Odessa Police Department officials say three law enforcement officers were shot: an Odessa police officer, a Midland police officer and a state police officer.

Police say the suspect who was killed was a white male in his mid-30s. After initial reports by police that they were searching for possibly more than one suspect, police believe there was only one shooter. They continue to investigate the mass shooting.

"We do believe we have the threat contained, but I can't be 1,000% sure of that," Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke told reporters.

The incident created a chaotic scene along shopping areas in Odessa and 20 miles away in Midland, with police departments in both areas urging residents to remain inside and off the roads on the holiday weekend.

Gerke said the situation began with a traffic stop. A Texas Department of Public Safety officer pulled over the suspect and was then shot by the vehicle's occupant, who then drove away. At some point, police said, the suspect ditched his car, stole a U.S. Postal Service truck and continued to shoot people at random.

Russell Tippin, CEO of the Odessa-based Medical Center Health System, said 13 people admitted to the hospital have been released, seven people are in critical condition and two people are in serious condition.

"This is a scary incident, and nobody is guaranteed tomorrow," Tippin said, urging people to pray for the community.

Earlier in August, a gunman killed 22 people in a shooting at a Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso.

President Trump tweeted that he was briefed on the incident, and Gov. Greg Abbott said he would be traveling to the area on Sunday.

"The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are working closely with local law enforcement to provide resources as needed and deliver justice for this heinous attack," the governor said in a statement.

Andy Jechow of member station KUT contributed to this report.

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