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Odessa police chief: Death toll rises to 7 in West Texas shooting

9 months 3 days 20 hours ago Saturday, August 31 2019 Aug 31, 2019 August 31, 2019 5:24 PM August 31, 2019 in News - AP Texas Headlines

ODESSA, Texas (AP) - The Latest on a shooting in West Texas (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

Odessa police say the death toll in a West Texas shooting rampage is now seven after a man stopped by state troopers opened fire and fled, shooting people at random. Police later shot the gunman.

Odessa police spokesman Steve LeSueur said Sunday that at least one person remains in “life-threatening” condition. Authorities have said the gunman shot more than 20 people before being killed by officers outside a movie theater.

Police say the shooter was a white man in his 30s but have not released a name or possible motive.

The shooter hijacked a mail carrier truck on Saturday afternoon and fired at random as he drove in the area of Odessa and Midland.

Odessa police had scheduled a news conference for noon.

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9 a.m.

The acting U.S. homeland security secretary calls a mass shooting in West Texas that left at least five people dead “extraordinarily concerning” and describes it and other recent mass shootings as a “homeland security threat.”

Kevin McAleenan told ABC’s “This Week” that Homeland Security Department officials will be “following up aggressively” on the West Teas shooting but didn’t want to jump to any conclusions about the causes or motive.

It began with Texas state troopers pulling over a driver for failing to signal a left turn. Police say the driver went on a more than 10-mile shooting rampage Saturday afternoon, hijacking a mail carrier truck and firing at random as he drove in the area of Odessa and Midland. He shot more than 20 people before being killed by officers outside a movie theater.

When asked if recent mass shootings should be considered a homeland security threat, McAleenan said: “They are absolutely a homeland security threat.”

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1 a.m.

At least five people are dead in West Texas after a man stopped by state troopers for failing to signal a left turn opened fire and fled. Authorities say the gunman shot more than 20 people as he drove before being killed by officers outside a movie theater.

Police in Odessa plan a Sunday morning news conference to update the investigation into the chaotic rampage during which the suspect hijacked a mail carrier truck and fired at random as he drove in the area of Odessa and Midland.

The two cities are in the heart of Texas oil country, more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) west of Dallas.

Police have only identified the gunman as a man in his 30s and have not offered a motive.

6:30 p.m.

Police say the suspect killed after a West Texas shooting spree was a white male in his 30s.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke declined to name him but said he has some idea who he is.

He says at least 21 people have been injured. At least five people are dead.

6:10 p.m.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke says that at least 21 people have been injured by gunfire and five killed in a shooting in West Texas.

At a news conference Saturday, Gerke also says that at least three law enforcement officers were among those shot.

He spoke after a chaotic afternoon during which police reported that a suspect hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and began firing at random in the area of Odessa and Midland, hitting multiple people. Police initially reported that there could be more than one shooter, but Gerke says authorities now believe it was one shooter.

Gerke says he believes the threat is over but authorities remain vigilant.

5:30 p.m.

Police said there are "multiple gunshot victims" in West Texas after reports of two suspects opening fire on Saturday in the area of Midland and Odessa.

Midland police said at least one suspect was shot and killed near the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa.

One or possibly two suspects hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and were firing at random, hitting multiple people, Odessa police said.

"At this time there are multiple gunshot victims," Odessa police said in a posting on Facebook.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has urged residents to avoid major highways in the area, including Interstate 20.

No other details were immediately available.

Odessa is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) west of Dallas.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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