Five persons have been reported dead and 21 injured from a shooting in the Odessa and Midland area of western Texas, according to authorities.
The Mayor of Midland, Jerry Morales confirmed the death of two persons, with 20 others injured in shootings in Midland, 20 miles away, on Saturday, just about 28 days after a shooter killed 22 persons in El-Paso Walmart store.
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.
“They are shooting at random,” Morales said. “We have two fatalities and up to 20 injuries.”
Morales said one of the gunmen had been wounded but it was not clear how.
The mayor said in a text message: “One suspect is in custody. I’m not sure if he is alive.”
The mayor added that a rifle was used in the shootings, though he could not be more specific about the type or number of firearms involved.
“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,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.
One Midland police officer was grazed by a bullet, he said.
Morales said law enforcement officers were trying to keep drivers off the highways.
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 University of Texas of the Permian Basin said on Twitter that law enforcement authorities were trying to “locate and contain a shooter.”
The university directed that students “stay in your dorm or office and do not open your doors.”
*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.”