(Reuters) – A white male in his 30s who was recognized to police killed 4 individuals and wounded 21 others on Saturday in a gun rampage between the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa that began with a visitors cease and ended when he was killed by officers, authorities stated.
Persons are evacuated from Cinergy Odessa cinema following a taking pictures in Odessa, Texas, U.S. on this nonetheless picture taken from a social media video August 31, 2019. Rick Lobo by way of REUTERS
The suspect hijacked a postal van and opened hearth on cops, motorists and buyers on a busy Labor Day vacation weekend earlier than being shot lifeless exterior a multiplex cinema advanced in Odessa, police stated.
Authorities initially thought there have been two shooters driving two automobiles, however Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke instructed a information convention on Saturday night that he believed there was just one.
The gunman was heading from Midland to Odessa on Interstate 20 when he was stopped at three:17 p.m. native time, Gerke stated. He shot the police officer, took off west on I-20 after which exited at Odessa. There he drove to a Residence Depot and opened hearth on passersby.
“Sooner or later the suspect stole a mail truck and ditched his automotive,” Gerke stated. He drove the mail truck again east, pursued by police, earlier than crashing right into a stationary car behind the Odessa Cinergy multiplex advanced, the place he engaged in a gun battle with police and was shot lifeless, Gerke stated.
Video proven by an area CBS affiliate confirmed the white postal van crashing right into a car at excessive velocity exterior the movie show advanced earlier than the person believed to be the shooter was swarmed by police. Screaming theater goers ran from the advanced.
Gerke stated the suspect was recognized to him however declined to touch upon a motive for the shootings.
The Medical Middle Hospital in Odessa took in 13 victims, together with one who died, the hospital’s director, Russell Tippin, instructed reporters. Seven have been in crucial situation, two severe, and two have been handled and launched. One “pediatric affected person” below the age of two was transferred to a different facility, he stated.
“Seize onto your family members, pray for this city, cease and provides your prayers for the victims,” Tippin stated.
Midland Mayor Jerry Morales stated lots of of individuals have been having fun with the vacation weekend contained in the Cinergy advanced when the gunman was confronted by officers who boxed in his car within the car parking zone earlier than photographs have been exchanged.
He stated the suspect used a rifle to shoot the Texas Division of Public Security officer who had stopped his car, however didn’t know any extra particulars in regards to the weapon.
Morales stated three cops – one from Midland, one from Odessa and the Division of Public Security officer – have been wounded by gunfire. At one level, Midland police barricaded the freeway to cease the suspect leaving Odessa, about 20 miles (32 km) away within the Permian oil growth space of West Texas.
“It was very chaotic,” Morales stated by phone. “There have been rumors flying that the shooter was at procuring malls, the movie show.”
Retail shops, a shopping center and the College of Texas Permian Basin have been locked down as rumors unfold of the shootings and sightings, he stated.
Morales stated he was not instructed of the suspect’s establish, nor has any doable motive been disclosed.
At one level armed police ran by means of the Music Metropolis Mall in Odessa, forcing anchors for tv station CBS 7, positioned inside, to duck off-screen because the constructing went into lockdown.
Saturday’s taking pictures got here after 22 individuals have been killed at a Walmart retailer about 255 miles west of Midland within the metropolis of El Paso, Texas on Aug. three.
Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Further reporting by Gary McWilliams in Houston and Keith Coffman in Denver; Enhancing by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler