UPDATE: At least five dead in Texas after suspects shoot at random people, police say

One or possibly two suspects hijacked a postal vehicle before shooting multiple people

At least five people were dead after a gunman who hijacked a postal service vehicle in West Texas shot more than 20 people, authorities said Saturday. The gunman was killed and three law enforcement officers were among the injured.

Odesa Police Chief Michael Gerke said that in addition to the injured officers, there were at least 21 civilian shooting victims. He said at least five people died. He did not say whether the shooter was among the dead. It was not clear whether he was including the five dead among the at least 21 civilian shooting victims.

The shooting comes just weeks after a gunman in the Texas border city of El Paso killed 22 people after opening fire at a Walmart. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week held two meetings with lawmakers about how to prevent mass more shootings in Texas. He said he would visit the area Sunday.

The shooting began with a traffic stop where gunfire was exchanged with police, setting off a chaotic afternoon during which the suspect hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and began firing at random in the area of Odesaand Midland, hitting multiple people. Cell phone video showed people running out of the movie theatre, and as Odesa television station KOSA aired breaking developments on live TV, their broadcast was interrupted by police telling them they had to clear the area.

Police initially reported that there could be more than one shooter, but Gerke says authorities now believe it was only one.

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

Gerke described the suspect as a white male in his 30s. He did not name him but said he has some idea who he is.

Russell Tippin, CEO of Medical Center Hospital in Odesa, said 14 shooting victims were being treated at the hospital Saturday evening but he did not give their conditions or other information about the victims. Social workers and professional counsellors are at the hospital to provide support to the families of shooting victims, Tippin said. He also said the hospital has been locked down for that safety of the staff and patients.

“Right now the hospital is stable, it’s secure,” Tippin said.

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

At first, he thought it might have been a tire blowing but he heard more shots and spotted a white sedan with a passenger window that had been shattered. That’s when he thought, “Oh man, this is a shooting.”

Fawcett, 28, an Odesa transportation consultant, “got out to make sure everyone was safe” but found that no one had been struck by the gunfire nearby. He said a little girl was bleeding, but she hadn’t been shot, and that he found out she was grazed in the face.

Fawcett 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.”

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

Preparing to fly to Poland, Pence told reporters that Trump is “fully engaged” and closely monitoring the investigation. He said, “Our hearts go out to all the victims, the families and loved ones.” He also commended law enforcement “for their swift, courageous response.”

Pence said Trump has deployed the federal government in response to the shootings. He says Trump has spoken to the attorney general and that the FBI is already assisting local law enforcement.

Odesa is about 20 miles (32 kilometres) southwest of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles (483 kilometres) west of Dallas.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mike Slaco, owner of Electron Metalworks, works on a large-scale piece of Tseshaht First Nation-designed artwork that will be incorporated into the side of the Harbour Quay Clocktower once it is refurbished. Slaco is working with the City of Port Alberni on the project. (RACHEL THEUS PHOTO)
Port Alberni’s waterfront clock tower will get a facelift in 2021

Aging Harbour Quay clock tower needs to be refurbished

Andrea Monticue and Herb Bruce will be the featured readers at Alberni Valley Words on Fire on Oct. 28. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Valley Words on Fire goes international

Spoken word event will take place on Fridays instead of Wednesdays starting next month

Bulldogs forward Chase Klassen delivers a check to Clippers defender Gianni Fairbrother during a game on Oct. 24. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs get back in the win column in preseason play

Bulldogs snap a five-game winless skid with a 3-2 win over the Nanaimo Clippers

Nanaimo RCMP patch
Domestic violence on the rise in Port Alberni

COVID-19 still affecting domestic violence stats, says Alberni RCMP’s top cop

Emergency crews respond to an apartment fire on Tuesday, Oct. 20. (PHOTO COURTESY JERRY FEVENS)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate possible arson

Fire was contained but three people displaced in aftermath

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Most Read