Death toll rises to 7 in gunman's rampage | News Coverage from USA

Death toll rises to 7 in gunman’s rampage

The death toll rose to seven Sunday after a gunman’s rampage that left many more injured following what began as a routine traffic stop in Odessa, police in the West Texas city said.

Odessa police spokesman Steve LeSueur said Sunday that at least one person remains in “life-threatening” condition. Police Chief Michael Gerke previously said the gunman, whose name has not been released, was fatally shot by police.

“There is no longer an immediate threat to the public, and this situation continues to be investigated by local, state and federal officials,” Gerke said in a statement.

The assault took place one day before a series of gun law changes in state that ease restrictions on where Texans can carry or store firearms, from foster homes to churches.

The shooting began Saturday afternoon when a state trooper pulled over the suspect, described by authorities as a white male in his mid-30s and driving a gold-colored car, was pulled over for a traffic violation on Interstate 20 between Midland and Odessa.

The driver opened fire on the trooper before fleeing westbound on the interstate, shooting his way to Odessa, stealing a mail truck and continuing his assault, police said.

The suspect then shot one Odessa officer and one Midland Police Department officer before authorities returned fire and killed the suspect near a Cinergy movie theater in Odessa.

Harrowing eyewitness video appears to show parts of the shootout. The eyewitness video, taken by Alex Woods, appears to show the scene outside the theater from across a field. 

“There’s a shooting going on in Odessa,” a man in the bed of a pickup truck says before gunshots are heard. “Oh god, they’re shooting right there,” he says as he turns the camera toward the building.

More shots are heard, and the man tells people near him to get down. More police cars arrive, and the man says “He’s shooting them. Oh, he killed him.” But it was not clear who was shooting.

Police initially said five people were confirmed dead and 21 injured, but later updated the death total to seven. It was not clear if the deaths included the shooter. 

Besides the initial trooper, two other troopers were wounded, the Texas Department of Safety said. The tragedy became the latest mass shooting after others this summer in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, California. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was traveling to the area on Sunday, ordered Texas flags across the state to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims.

“I thank the first responders who have acted swiftly and admirably under pressure, Abbott said. “And I want to remind all Texans that we will not allow the Lone Star State to be overrun by hatred and violence.”

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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