Five dead in West Texas mass shoot­ing

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Second Front -

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — 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.

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 Odessa and Mid­land, hitting mul­ti­ple peo­ple. Cell phone video showed peo­ple run­ning out of a movie the­ater, and as Odessa 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 Odessa Po­lice Chief Michael Gerke said 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.

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 in­cluded among those five dead, and 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.

Seven peo­ple re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion hours af­ter the shoot­ing, said Rus­sell Tip­pin, CEO of Med­i­cal Cen­ter Hos­pi­tal in Odessa. He said a child un­der 2 years old was also trans­ported to an­other hos­pi­tal. He also said one per­son the hos­pi­tal had re­ceived had died, al­though it was un­clear if that vic­tim was among the five dead that Gerke re­ported.

Tip­pin said 13 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 coun­selors 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.

Odessa Amer­i­can via AP

A law en­force­ment of­fi­cer stands in Odessa, Texas, Satur­day, fol­low­ing a shoot­ing at ran­dom in the area of Odessa and Mid­land.

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