MIDLAND & ODESSA, Texas – The death toll from Saturday’s multiple shootings in the Midland-Odessa area rose to seven on Sunday, according to an update from the Odessa Police Department.
Nearly 20 people were also injured in the incident.
A spokesman for the City of Odessa said four of the deaths were in Odessa and three were in Midland.
During a press conference early Sunday afternoon, authorities said the dead ranged in age from 15 to 57.
Authorities said there was no connection to domestic, international terrorism seen in the shooting.
It was announced the gunman used “AR-type weapon.”
Three law enforcement officers were among those shot, including a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper, a Midland Police Department officer and an Office Police Department officer.
A spokesman for the Texas DPS said Saturday evening the Trooper was in serious but stable condition. The two other officers were in stable condition at a local hospital.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said in a press conference early Saturday evening that a suspect was shot and killed outside the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa.
Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the West Texas rampage shooter was Seth Ator. Records show he was 36 years old.
Police say the shooter was a white man in his 30s. His name or the motive behind the shootings has not been released.
It was initially reported there were two suspects, but Odessa Police said during their press conference they could not confirm a second suspect.
DPS said the incident started around 3:15 p.m. when the DPS Trooper attempted to make traffic stop of a gold colored passenger car on Interstate 20 near mile marker 131.
“The male driver (and only occupant in the vehicle) pointed a rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired several shots toward the DPS patrol unit. The patrol unit was occupied by two Troopers, and one was hit by the gunfire,” a news release from the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
DPS said the suspect then fled the scene and continued shooting innocent people, including a Midland police officer and an Odessa police officer.
The suspect also hijacked a U.S. Postal Service mail truck, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said.
Our sister station in Odessa, KMID, reported a postal employee was shot in the hijacking of the postal vehicle.
Medical Center Health Systems CEO Russell Tippin said Saturday evening that 13 victims were transported to their facility.
A 17-month-old was airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock. UMC said late Saturday evening the child was in satisfactory condition.
A spokesman for Odessa Regional Medical Center said their facility treated six victims.
Scanner audio from law enforcement reveals the chaos in the moments after a mass shooting as police worked to determine exactly what was happening.
You can hear that audio in the video below. Warning: some users may find it graphic.
The FBI is asking anyone with information about Saturday’s incident to contact their National Threat Operations Center at 800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324) . Tips may also be reported anonymously online at http://tips.fbi.gov.
The Associated Press reported the shootings Saturday brought the number of mass killings in the U.S. so far this year to 25.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released the following statement Saturday afternoon from Austin. His office also announced Abbott will travel to the Permian Basin on Sunday.
“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.”
President Trump also released a statement Saturday afternoon via Twitter.
Just briefed by Attorney General Barr about the shootings in Texas. FBI and Law Enforcement is fully engaged. More to follow.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2019
Trump released a second statement on Twitter Sunday.
Great job by Texas Law Enforcement and First Responders in handling the terrible shooting tragedy yesterday. Thank you also to the FBI, @GregAbbott_TX and all others. A very tough and sad situation!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) issued the following statement from Houston:
“Heidi and I are heartbroken by this heinous attack, and we are lifting up in prayer all the victims, their families, and the entire Midland-Odessa community. We are thankful for the law enforcement officers who heroically risked their lives and acted swiftly to stop the shooter and save others. Their courage helped prevent even more senseless deaths, and we honor their tireless commitment to protecting us all. We Texans are standing together tonight united against all forms of hatred and violence.”
US. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) released a statement via Twitter:
Tonight we are one with the entire Midland-Odessa community, especially the victims of this horrific tragedy. I want to thank law enforcement and first responders for their courage in an impossible situation.— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) September 1, 2019
U.S. Representative Mike Conaway released the following statement:
“My heart is breaking for my hometown. While the details of this horrific shooting are still unfolding, the suspect was shot and killed by police officers. My office is in contact with local officials, and will continue to provide support in any way that we can.
“We owe more gratitude than words can adequately express to the law enforcement officials and other first responders of Midland and Odessa who acted quickly and courageously in their response to today’s events. Please join Suzanne and I as we pray for the victims and families whose lives have been forever changed by this senseless tragedy.”
The City of Lubbock released a statement Saturday evening offering condolences and support to Midland and Odessa:
City of Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, the Lubbock City Council and the rest of the City organization offer their condolences and support to those killed, injured and affected by the mass shooting in Odessa and Midland, on the afternoon of Saturday, August 31, 2019.
“We are heartbroken for the citizens of our West Texas sister cities, Odessa and Midland, after this senseless and tragic act,” said Pope. “The City of Lubbock is ready to help with any resources, personnel or assistance Odessa and Midland might need in the coming days and weeks.”