Authorities said a white man in his 30s who was known to police killed four people and wounded 21 others in an armed attack between Midland and Odessa in western Texas that began with a traffic stop and ended when he was killed by officers.
Police said the suspect hijacked a mail truck and opened fire on police officers, drivers and shoppers before he was shot dead outside a cinema complex in Odessa.
Authorities originally thought two shooters were driving two cars, but the Odessa police chief said at a press conference that he believed there was only one.
The gunman was traveling from Midland to Odessa on Highway 20 when he was stopped at 3:17 pm. Local time, Jerkey said. He shot the police officer, drove west on I-20 and then left for Odessa. There he headed to the Home Depot and opened fire on the passers-by.
At some point, the suspect stole a mail truck and left his car. ”Jerky said he drove the mail truck to the east, and the police pursued him, before crashing into a stationary vehicle behind the Odessa Synergy complex, where he got into a gunfight with the police and was shot dead.
A video footage posted by a local CBS company showed the white mail truck crashing into a car at high speed outside the movie theater complex before police stormed the man believed to be the shooter. Screaming theater-goers ran from the complex.
The hospital director said that the Odessa Medical Center hospital received 13 victims, including one who died. Seven of them are in critical condition, two of them are in serious condition, and two have been treated and then released. He said that a “pediatric patient” under the age of two had been transferred to another facility.
He said hold your loved ones, pray for this city, pause and pray for the victims. “
The mayor of Midland said hundreds of people were enjoying a weekend inside the Synergy complex when he encountered the gunman who had surrounded his car in a parking lot before the exchange of fire.
He said the suspect used a rifle to shoot the Texas Public Safety Officer who had parked his car, but he did not know any other details about the weapon.
Three police officers – one from Midland, the other from Odessa and a Department of Public Safety officer – were shot. At one point, Midland Police block the highway to prevent the suspect from leaving Odessa, some 20 miles (32 km) away in the oil boom area of Permian in West Texas.
Retail stores, a shopping mall and Texas Permian Basin University have closed as shootings are rumored and watched.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said that when two state soldiers first stopped on I-20, the suspect aimed a rifle at the rear window of his vehicle and fired several shots at his patrol car, hitting them.
The department said in a statement that the wounded soldier was in critical but stable condition, and that two other policemen were in stable condition in a local hospital.