Odessa shooting: At least 5 dead, Texas police say

Police say the suspected gunman, who was shot and killed, opened fire at random, hitting more than 20 people.

    Odessa shooting: At least 5 dead, Texas police say
    This handout image obtained courtesy of Ernst Villanueva shows a vehicle with multiple bullet holes on the windows after a gunman opened fire on the I-20 highway between Odessa and Midland, Texas [Handout/AFP]

    At least five people were killed when a gunman, who hijacked a postal service vehicle in west Texas, shot more than 20 people, authorities said on Saturday. The gunman was killed by police and three law enforcement officers were among the injured.

    Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said that in addition to the injured officers, there were at least 21 civilian shooting victims. He said at least five people died. He did not say whether the attacker was among the dead. It was also not clear whether Gerke was including the five dead among the at least 21 civilian shooting victims.

    "There is no active shooter at this time. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects," Midland Police said on Facebook. The city of Midland neighbours Odessa. 

    According to authorities, the shooting started with a traffic stop. The suspected attacker, described by police as a white male in his 30s, began shooting at law enforcement. He then hijacked a US Postal Service vehicle and continued to shoot at random, police said.

    Gerke said authorities believe the shooting is over, but he urged residents to remain vigilant. 

    "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," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. 

    Saturday's shooting comes just weeks after 22 people were killed and dozens injured when a gunman opened at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas. The suspect in that shooting said he was targeting Mexican immigrants. 

    Abbott this week held two meetings with politicians about how to prevent mass more shootings in Texas.He said he would visit the Odessa-Midland area on Sunday.

    Vice President Mike Pence said following the shooting that President Donald Trump and his administration "remain absolutely determined" to work with leaders in both parties in Congress to take such steps "so we can address and confront this scourge of mass atrocities in our country".

    Preparing to fly to Poland, Pence told reporters that Trump is "fully engaged" and closely monitoring the investigation. He said, "Our hearts go out to all the victims, the families and loved ones." He also commended law enforcement "for their swift, courageous response".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies