Five dead after shooting in Texas

Five dead after shooting in Texas

Five people have died after a gunman who hijacked a postal service vehicle in West Texas shot more than 20 people, authorities said.

The gunman was killed and three law enforcement officers were among the injured.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said that in addition to the injured officers, there were at least 21 civilian shooting victims.

It was not clear whether he was including the five dead among that number.

The shooting outside a cinema comes just weeks after a gunman in the Texas border city of El Paso opened fire at a Walmart and killed 22 people.

Odessa and Midland police and sheriff’s deputies surround the area behind Cinergy cinema in Odessa, Texas (Tim Fischer/Midland Reporter-Telegram via AP)
Odessa and Midland police and sheriff’s deputies surround the area behind Cinergy cinema in Odessa, Texas (Tim Fischer/Midland Reporter-Telegram via AP)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott held two meetings with politicians this week about how to prevent more mass shootings. He said he would visit the area on Sunday.

State police said the shooting began when the suspect was stopped for failing to signal a left turn while driving, setting off a chaotic afternoon during which the suspect hijacked a US Postal Service vehicle and began firing at random in the area of Odessa and Midland, hitting multiple people.

Mobile phone video showed people running out of the cinema, and as Odessa television station KOSA aired breaking developments on live TV, its broadcast was interrupted by police telling them they had to clear the area.

Police initially reported that there could be more than one gunman, but Mr Gerke said authorities now believed it was only one.

“Once this individual was taken out of the picture, there have been no more victims,” he said.

He described the suspect as a white male in his 30s.


Russell Tippin, chief executive of Medical Centre Hospital in Odessa, said 14 shooting victims were being treated at the hospital on Saturday evening but he did not give their conditions or other information about the victims.

He said the hospital had been locked down for the safety of the staff and patients.

Dustin Fawcett was sitting in his vehicle at a Starbucks in Odessa when he heard at least six gunshots ring out less than 50 yards behind him.

At first, he thought it might have been a tyre blowing but he heard more shots and spotted a white car with a passenger window that had been shattered.

The 28-year-old said authorities responded quickly and when police pulled out their rifles and vests he knew that “this is not a drive-by. This is something else, this is something bigger”.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke talks to the media (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke talks to the media (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)

Vice president Mike Pence said following the shooting that Donald Trump and his administration “remain absolutely determined” to work with leaders in both parties in Congress to take steps “so we can address and confront this scourge of mass atrocities in our country”.

Preparing to fly to Poland, Mr Pence said: “Our hearts go out to all the victims, the families and loved ones.”

Odessa is about 20 miles south-west of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles west of Dallas.

- Press Association

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