5 killed, 21 injured in Texas latest shooting(Updated)

August 31, 2019
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<!– A Midland Police Department vehicle –>

A Midland Police Department vehicle

At least five persons have been killed in a mass shooting that left 21 victims injured in the US state of Texas on Saturday, police said.

“We have at least 21 victims, 21 shooting victims and at least five deceased at this point in time,” Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke told reporters.

Three police officers were injured in the incident which began with a traffic stop, he said.

The suspect was shot dead in an exchange of fire with officers.

The shooting comes less than a month after a gunman killed 22 people in the Texas city of El Paso, close to 300 miles (480 kilometers) west of Odessa.

Police in Odessa had earlier reported that “a subject (possibly 2) is currently driving around Odessa shooting at random people.”

They added that “the suspect just hijacked a US mail carrier truck” and urged people to stay off the road and use extreme caution.

Some of the shots were fired on the Interstate 20 highway linking Odessa and Midland, where cars were left with bullet holes.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he had been briefed by Attorney General Bill Barr.

“FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged,” Trump said.

The Mayor of Midland,Jerry Morales confirmed the death of two persons, with 20 others injured.

Midland Police Department also confirmed one death: that of the ‘active shooter’ in an update posted on Facebook.

“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. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects”, the Police said.

Morales said the shootings began shortly after 4 p.m. local time, with two or possibly three gunmen targeting motorists on Interstate 20 and Highway 191, which connects Midland to Odessa, Texas.

Odessa police said multiple people were shot by a gunman who at one point hijacked a mail truck and was “shooting at random people.”

Midland Memorial Hospital said it received six patients, three of whom are in critical condition, hospital officials said. The other three patients are in stable condition.

Midland and Odessa are in western Texas, about 20 miles apart.

The police in Midland earlier said on Facebook that they believed there were two gunmen in separate vehicles.

“One suspect is believed to be at the Cinergy in Midland and the other is believed to be driving on Loop 250 in Midland,” the police said. “The two vehicles in question are: gold/white small Toyota truck and a USPS Postal Van. Please stay away from these areas and stay indoors.”

The police in Odessa, about 20 miles away, said on Facebook that a gunman — or possibly two — was driving around “shooting at random people.”

“At this time there are multiple gunshot victims,” the police said. “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 latest incident in Texas came after the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart, where many victims were Hispanic.

In that case, officers arrested Patrick Crusius, 21, a white Texan, who told police that he was targeting “Mexicans,” according to an arrest warrant published by US media.

The tragedy in El Paso was committed on the basis of “racist” anti-Mexican rhetoric in a country that “has always been a land of opportunity for every newcomer,” Jesus Seade, Mexico’s foreign ministry undersecretary for North America, said during a memorial after that shooting.

Critics of Trump have accused him of stoking such hatred.

The shooting in El Paso came hours before a gunman in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, reigniting calls for gun control in the United States where firearms were linked to nearly 40,000 deaths in 2017.

“We need to end this epidemic,” former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke reacted on Twitter.

O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential hopeful, also expressed sympathy with “everyone in West Texas who has to endure this again.”

*Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement about the active shooting in Midland and Odessa.

“The First Lady and I are heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack, and we offer our unwavering support to the victims, their families, and all the people of Midland and Odessa,” said Governor Abbott. “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. 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.”

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