Update, Sunday, 2:50 p.m. EDT: Officials on Sunday said the number of people killed in the mass shooting in Odessa and Midland, Texas, the previous day had increased overnight to seven, in addition to the shooter. The official number of those injured also increased to 22.
Victims range in age from 15 to 57 and include the 29-year-old driver of the U.S. Postal Service truck that was hijacked and a 15-year-old high school sophomore.
Original post continues here:
Police in Midland, Texas, reported at 5:30 p.m. local time on Saturday that a mass shooting had come to an end after the perpetrator, a white male in his mid-30s, was shot and killed.
Initial reports said that at least five people were killed and 21 others were injured as police begin to piece together the details of the attack. At a news conference, a police spokesman said the shooting began during a traffic stop by authorities.
The spokesman said that several officers were injured, including a Texas state trooper.
“It has been confirmed that the active shooter was shot and killed at the Cinergy in Odessa,” the Midland Police Department posted on its Facebook account. “There is no active shooter at this time. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects.”
Earlier, Midland police thought there may have been more than one shooter involved.
Midland is located about 20 miles east of Odessa. Both cities are located about 300 miles east of El Paso.
The suspect reportedly was being pulled over in a small Toyota in Midland when he opened fire on police, injuring one officer. He drove west toward Odessa and fired at random motorists and pedestrians. He also hijacked a U.S. Postal Service van, in which he continued the assault. Midland police had urged residents to stay away from the areas of the attacks and to remain indoors.
The shooter then drove toward a Cinergy movie theater in the stolen postal van, where he was finally confronted and killed by police in a shootout captured on video by a nearby witness.
Among the injured was a 17-month-old girl, who apparently was shot in the face. She was airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, where she is in satisfactory condition, according to CNN.
The Ector County school district in Odessa said one of its students had been killed.
“Active Shooter! Please Share!” the Odessa Police Department wrote on its own Facebook account earlier on Saturday. “A subject (possibly 2) is currently driving around Odessa shooting at random people. At this time there are multiple gunshot victims. The suspect just hijacked a U.S. mail carrier truck and was last seen in the area of 38th and Walnut. Everyone is encouraged to get off the road and use extreme caution! All law enforcement is currently searching for the suspect and more information will be released as soon as it becomes available.”
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, in Odessa, immediately placed its campus on lockdown late Saturday afternoon.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said its agents were responding to a shooting on IH-20 near Odessa.
Texas state Rep. Brooks Landgraf, from Odessa, called the situation “tragic” and “serious.” “Please stay in your homes,” he tweeted.
And for the second time in less than a month, TX Gov. Greg Abbott was forced to issue a statement condemning yet another mass shooting in his state.
“The First Lady and I are heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack,” Abbott wrote in a statement.
His post prompted a flurry of angry reaction on Twitter. “Blood on your hands,” wrote several angry critics.
A series of new gun laws are slated to take effect in Texas on Sunday, in a state that receives an “F” from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Someone is killed with a gun in Texas every three hours, the center noted.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the new legislation signed by Abbott will make it easier “to carry guns in Texas churches, schools, apartment buildings and disaster zones.” It’s hard even to imagine it becoming easier to obtain a firearm in Texas, yet, here we are.
A lobbyist for a local affiliate of the National Rifle Association said of the legislation that Abbott signed into law: “The good bills passed. The bad bills didn’t,” the newspaper reported.
That doesn’t sound much like “unwavering support” to the victims and their families to me.
This story is developing. It was last updated at 2:50 p.m. EDT on Sunday.