What to Know
- 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
- The gunman was killed and three law enforcement officers were among the injured.
- Odessa is about 20 miles southwest of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles west of Dallas.
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Five people are dead and at least 21 injured in West Texas after a shooter started to fire indiscriminately along a highway Saturday afternoon following an attempted traffic stop, Midland police say.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said he believed the shooter was counted among the five people killed, but it was not clear whether he was including the five dead among the at least 21 civilian shooting victims.
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Additionally, three of the people injured are law enforcement officers, one each from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Midland Police Department and the Odessa Police Department, Gerke said.
The incident started when a state trooper attempted to stop a gold Honda for failing to signal a left turn on Interstate Highway 20 near Odessa about 3:13 p.m. Saturday, according to Texas DPS.
When the officers tried to pull the car over, the driver, identified only as a white man in his 30s, pointed a rifle out the car's rear window and fired several times, Texas DPS said.
One of the two officers in the patrol vehicle was hit and the gunman drove away, Texas DPS said.
As the shooter continued to drive, Gerke said, he shot at multiple people before he ditched the Honda and hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle, from which he continued to fire.
Officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter near an entertainment venue and movie theater, where the man was killed, Gerke said.
Police initially reported that there could be more than one shooter, but 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.
One local hospital where 13 victims were being treated, Medical Center Health System in Odessa, remained under lockdown Saturday evening, CEO Russell Tippin said.
Of the 13 victims, Tippin said one died at the hospital, seven were in critical condition, two were in serious condition and two were treated and released.
The 13th victim was under two years old and was transferred to a pediatric facility, Tippin said.
"You need to grasp on to your loved ones and hold on to them," Tippin said. "And you need to pray for this town and all the towns and the families and the victims involved."
Tippin said for the moment, the hospital has enough blood and supplies to serve the situation.
Tiffany Parada said she was in the car with her husband and four young children when the shooter fired on them. She described him as white with dirty blond hair and said his gun was long.
Parada recounted a chaotic scene as her husband sped away from danger at around 110 miles per hour, all the while trying to warn others about the gunman. Despite being shot at, her family was unharmed, though they did help a man who was injured.
"I just feel like God was with us," Parada said on MSNBC Saturday.
Dustin Fawcett was sitting in his truck at a Starbucks in Odessa 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 Odessa 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."
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation, NBC News reports.
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.
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 shootings in Texas. He said he would visit the area Sunday.