(Reuters) – A gunman who went on the rampage with an AR-type rifle in West Texas killed seven individuals and wounded 22 others, together with a toddler who was shot within the face, earlier than he was killed by police, authorities mentioned on Sunday.
Police mentioned the second mass taking pictures in Texas in 4 weeks started on Saturday afternoon with a routine visitors cease and ended when the suspect, a white male in his 30s, was cornered by officers within the parking zone of a cinema advanced.
Police, motorists and consumers have been all caught up within the chaos that unfolded between the cities of Odessa and Midland throughout a busy Labor Day vacation weekend.
Authorities have mentioned the shooter was recognized to police and lived domestically. Authorities mentioned the investigation continues, however there was no obvious hyperlink to home or worldwide terrorism.
“There are not any definitive solutions as to motive or causes at this level, however we’re pretty sure that the topic did act alone,” Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke mentioned at a information convention.
Gerke mentioned seven victims have been killed and 22 wounded, and he supplied his condolences to their households.
“My coronary heart aches for all of them,” he mentioned.
Among the many wounded was a 17-month-old woman, Anderson Davis, who was shot within the face, in accordance with officers and an internet fundraising marketing campaign began by her household.
Three cops have been shot and wounded – one from Midland, one from Odessa and a Division of Public Security state trooper – and have been in secure situation.
In an announcement on Fb, Odessa police named the gunman as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, of Odessa.
On Aug. three, a gunman killed 22 individuals in one other Saturday taking pictures at a Walmart retailer about 255 miles (410 km) west of Midland within the metropolis of El Paso, Texas.
President Donald Trump known as the Odessa-Midland shooter “a really sick particular person,” however mentioned background checks on gun patrons wouldn’t have prevented latest U.S. gun violence.
In remarks to reporters on Sunday, Trump mentioned he could be working with Democrats and Republicans on gun laws when Congress returns this month. “I believe you’re going to see some fascinating issues coming alongside,” he mentioned.
The bloodshed between Midland and Odessa started when two state troopers pulled over a automotive on Interstate 20 for not utilizing its flip sign and the lone occupant fired at their patrol automobile with an “AR-type” rifle, or light-weight semi-automatic, wounding one in all them.
After fleeing, the suspect hijacked a postal van and opened fireplace on passersby earlier than being shot lifeless outdoors the Cinergy cinema advanced in Odessa, police mentioned.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot praised first responders and medical personnel, and advised reporters that the damage felt by the victims was “incalculable.”
And he learn a textual content message he acquired from the wounded toddler’s mom, thanking everybody for his or her prayers.
“I’ve been to too many of those occasions,” Abbot mentioned, reciting the shootings in Dallas, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe Excessive Faculty and El Paso which have occurred since he grew to become governor in 2015.
“I’m heartbroken by the crying of the individuals of the state of Texas. I’m bored with the dying of the individuals of the state of Texas … the established order in Texas is unacceptable, and motion is required,” Abbot mentioned.
Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Extra reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Enhancing by Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool