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

Journey Middle School students try out the trades

Program is designed to expose students to career options

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read