A white male in his 30s who was known to police killed five people and wounded 21 others on Saturday in a gun riot between the west Texas cities of Midland and Odessa that started with a traffic stop and ended when he was killed by officers.
The suspect hijacked a postal van and opened fire on police officers, motorists and shoppers before being shot dead outside a multiplex cinema complex in Odessa, police said.
Authorities originally thought there were two shooters driving two vehicles, but Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke told a press conference on Saturday evening that he believed there was only one.
The suspect is believed to have shot the police officer who stopped his vehicle on Interstate 20 at around 2.30 p.m. local time and then went on a shooting spree that spread terror through shopping centers and movie theaters on a busy Labor Day holiday weekend in the two cities, which lie about 32 km apart in the Permian oil boom area of West Texas.
Police said the shooter was shot and killed in the parking lot of the multiplex.
“We do believe we have the threat contained but I can’t be 1,000% sure of that,” Odessa Police Chief Michale Gerke told a news conference.Gerke said the suspect was known to him but he declined to comment on a motive for shootings.
At least three police officers were among the wounded, CBS affiliate CBS 7 reported.
A spokesperson for the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa said it took in 14 victims, but that it was too soon to give details.
Saturday’s shooting came after 22 people were killed at a Walmart store about 410 km west of Midland in the city of El Paso, Texas on August 3.