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.

Just Posted

Kootenay East MLA suggests two-year moratorium on whitetail doe hunt

Tom Shypitka says the proposal is in response to declining ungulate populations

CP Holiday Train rolls through East Kootenay, Cranbrook Food Bank gets $10K donation

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which passes through Cranbrook as one of… Continue reading

Community musicians to present Christmas extravaganza

A group of more than 70 musicians encompassing all age groups and… Continue reading

Kootenay Orchards’ Jingle Bell Walk supports local food bank

Third annual event sees students carolling around the neighbourhood, collecting food bank items

It happened this week in 1912

Dec. 8 - 14: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read