7 killed, 20 injured in Texas mass shooting

PTI

Odessa: CORRECTS THE NAME OF THE SOURCE TO THE MIDLAND REPORTER-TELEGRAM - Odessa and Midland police and sheriff's deputies surround a white van in Odessa, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, after reports of gunfire. Police said there are "multiple gunshot victims" in West Texas after reports of gunfire on Saturday in the area of Midland and Odessa. (PTI Photo)

Odessa: Odessa and Midland police and sheriff’s deputies surround a white van in Odessa, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, after reports of gunfire. Police said there are “multiple gunshot victims” in West Texas after reports of gunfire on Saturday in the area of Midland and Odessa. (PTI Photo)

At least seven persons, including three officers, were killed and 20 injured when a gunman opened fire at random in the second mass shooting in the US State of Texas in a month, police said.

The shooting – the 38th mass killing by firearms in the US this year – occurred on Saturday in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa.

The gunman, who was white and in his mid-30s, was shot dead by police at the Cinergy movie theatre after a chase. However, police did not identify the shooter by his name.

The gunman opened fire around 3 pm (local time) after he was pulled over by traffic officials. He shot at the trooper who stopped him and began shooting people at random, local media quoted Chief Michael Gerke of the Odessa Police Department as saying.

The driver then began shooting at other people in several other locations. At one point, he abandoned his car and stole a postal truck before continuing his spree. He was shot dead by police at a cinema complex.

US President Donald Trump thanked police and first responders for “handling the terrible shooting tragedy”. “A very tough and sad situation!” he tweeted.

Initially, it was suspected that two people were involved in the shooting and police had said they were believed to be driving around separately in a gold/white-coloured Toyota vehicle and a stolen US Postal Service van.

The mass shooting incident in the western Texas cities, located 32-km apart, happened nearly a month after a gunman killed 22 people and injured over two dozen at a Walmart store in El Paso in the far western part of the state. The gunman in that shooting was arrested and charged.

Firearms caused nearly 40,000 deaths in the US in 2017, which was highest in 50 years, according to official data.

(PTI)