At least 21 people were shot and five people were killed Saturday in a series of shootings in the area of Midland and Odessa, Texas, an Odessa city official told Fox News.
A suspect, who local police identified only as a white male in his mid-30s, was shot and killed at an Odessa movie theater, local police said.
“It has been confirmed that the active shooter was shot and killed at the Cinergy in Odessa. There is no active shooter at this time,” the Midland Police Department said on its Facebook page.
Odessa spokesperson Devin Sanchez told Fox News that the incident began with the shooting of a Texas state trooper at 3:17 p.m. during a traffic stop on Interstate 20 in Midland County. After that shooting, the suspect continued west into Odessa and shot another person Interstate 20 before driving around the eastern part of the city, where there are multiple scenes and victims, the official said. At some point, the subject stole a mail truck, and there were additional shootings, the official said.
The suspect then traveled back east in the stolen mail truck toward the movie theater, where various law enforcement agencies contacted him. Gunfire was exchanged, and the suspect was killed.
Odessa police chief Michael Gurke declined to name the suspect but said he had some idea of who the man was.
Midland Mayor Jerry Morales told Fox News that a Midland police officer and an Odessa police officer were shot in addition to the state trooper. Their conditions were not immediately known.
“I was born and raised here, I do not recall anything like this ever happening,” Morales told Fox. “It’s hard to swallow. It’s hard to understand. […] There’s a lot of learning going on. It was very rapid.”
The suspect’s killing brought an end to a chaotic afternoon, during which police initially reported that there were two shooters in two separate vehicles. At a news conference Saturday evening, Gerke said police believe the suspect killed at the movie theater was the only gunman.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) urged the public to avoid I-20 in Odessa, Midland and Big Spring. Residents of Midland and Odessa were also urged to stay inside.
President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and the White House is monitoring the situation, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.
Justice Department spokesman Kerri Kupec tweeted that Attorney General William Barr was monitoring the situation.
“Just briefed by Attorney General Barr about the shootings in Texas. FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged. More to follow,” Trump later tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking shortly before departing on a trip to Poland, told reporters: “Our hearts break for the families who have loved ones who’ve been injured, those who have loved ones who have lost their lives in the wake of this latest mass shooting, and the president and I remain absolutely determined to work with leaders of both parties in the Congress to take such steps so we can address and confront this scourge of mass atrocities in our country.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decried what he called a “senseless and cowardly attack.”
“The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are working closely with local law enforcement to provide resources as needed and deliver justice for this heinous attack,” Abbott said in a statement. “I thank the first responders who have acted swiftly and admirably under pressure, and I want to remind all Texans that we will not allow the Lone Star State to be overrun by hatred and violence. We will unite, as Texans always do, to respond to this tragedy.”
“I am horrified to see such a senseless act terrorize the fine people of the Permian Basin,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Thank you to the courageous local and state first responders who worked quickly today to stop this evil attack. I have asked my law enforcement division and my crime victims services team to assist in any way necessary. Please join Angela and me as we pray for comfort for those who have been impacted by this violent act.”
Saturday’s shooting came exactly four weeks after a gunman killed 22 people and wounded 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso. The suspect in that massacre reportedly told authorities he was targeting Mexicans. Earlier this week, Abbott held two meetings with lawmakers about how to prevent mass more shootings in Texas.
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The University of Texas of the Permian Basin was on lockdown for several hours. The lockdown was lifted at around 6:30 p.m.
Odessa is about 20 miles southwest of Midland. Both cities are more than 300 miles west of Dallas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.