Death toll from West Texas shooting rises to seven, 22 wounded

Reuters
Washington Published: Sep 02, 2019, 08.56 AM(IST)

Officials investigate the stolen mail truck used by the shooter at Cinergy movie theatre following a shooting in Odessa, Texas, US September 1, 2019. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Police had earlier said five people, including the gunman, were killed in the shooting that began with a traffic stop and ended when the suspect was cornered by officers in the parking lot of a cinema complex in Odessa, Texas

The death toll in Saturday`s gun rampage in West Texas rose to seven on Sunday with 22 people wounded, police said after the second mass shooting to rock the state in less than a month.

Police had earlier said five people, including the gunman, were killed in the shooting that began with a traffic stop and ended when the suspect was cornered by officers in the parking lot of a cinema complex in Odessa, Texas.

Authorities have not identified the victims or the gunman, but said on Saturday that he was a white male in his 30s who was known to police. 

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said seven victims were killed and 22 people wounded, and he offered his condolences to their families.

"My heart aches for them all," he said at a news conference. Gerke said he those killed were aged 15 to 57, and that he would not be naming the gunman yet.

"There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point, but we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone," Gerke said.

Among the wounded was a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was shot in the face, according to officials and an online fundraising campaign set up by her family.

Three police officers were shot and wounded - one from Midland, one from Odessa and a Department of Public Safety state trooper - and were listed in stable condition.

The rampage came after a gunman killed 22 people in another Saturday shooting on Aug. 3 at a Walmart store about 255 miles (410 km) west of Midland in the city of El Paso, Texas.

President Donald Trump called the Odessa-Midland shooter "a very sick person," but said background checks on gun buyers would not have prevented recent US gun violence.

In remarks to reporters on Sunday, Trump said he would be working with Democrats and Republicans on gun legislation when Congress returns this month. "I think you`re going to see some interesting things coming along," Trump said. 

This weekend`s bloodshed between the cities of Midland and Odessa began on Saturday afternoon when two state troopers pulled over a car on Interstate 20 and the lone occupant fired at their patrol vehicle with a rifle, wounding one of them.

After fleeing, the suspect hijacked a postal van and opened fire on police officers, motorists and shoppers on a busy Labor Day holiday weekend before being shot dead outside the Cinergy cinema complex in Odessa, police said. 

Gerke said at a news conference on Saturday that the suspect was known to him, but he declined to comment on a motive for the shootings. 

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