5 dead, 21 injured in shooting in US state of Texas

Police said the gunman was shot dead at the Cinergy movie theatre in Midland, Texas after a chase. Representative purpose only. Photo: iStock.

At least five persons were killed and 21 injured in the US state of Texas as a shooter targeted random people after being pulled over by traffic officials on Saturday (August 31), police said.

The incident happened in the area of Odessa and nearby Midland and police said the gunman was shot dead at the Cinergy movie theatre after a chase. However, police did not identify the shooter by his name.

The man, who was in his 30s, opened fire around 3 pm (local time) after he was pulled over. 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 shooter eventually ditched his car, hijacked a US Postal Service vehicle and continued to open fire, he said. Two law enforcement officers were injured. There were at least five deceased and 21 injured in the shooting, Gerke said.

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.

In a Facebook post, the Midland Police Department said: “There is no active shooter at this time. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects.”

During the shooting, authorities urged public to get off the road “and use extreme caution”.
President Donald Trump said he has been briefed about the incident by Attorney General William Barr. “FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged,” he tweeted.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the incident as a “senseless and cowardly attack”.
“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,” he said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

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 as he opened fire at a Walmart 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.