UPDATE: Eight Dead in Mass Shooting in Odessa

Steven Pickering
August 31, 2019 - 4:59 pm

Eight people have been killed and 24 wounded in a mass shooting in Odessa in West Texas. Several law enforcement officers from various agencies were hit. Police there say the suspect died in a confrontation with police and is included in the death tally. 

"It started with a traffic stop by the DPS," said Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke. He says the suspect shot a DPS Trooper in Midland County, one Midland Police Officer, and one Odessa Police Officer during the incident. The suspect was shot and killed at a movie theater in Odessa. 

During the incident, police had said there were possibly two suspects. They now believe there was only one shooter. Staffers at CBS-TV affiliate KOSA in Odessa had to take shelter as police searched for a possible suspect in the Music City Mall where the station has its studios, but the station is now back on the air and is reporting that it does not appear a suspect was at that location.

The suspect is described at this time as a white male in his mid-30's. 

“I am horrified to see such a senseless act terrorize the fine people of the Permian Basin," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement issued by his office. "Thank you to the courageous local and state first responders who worked quickly today to stop this evil attack. I have asked my law enforcement division and my crime victims services team to assist in any way necessary."

1 PM UPDATE: Following the press conference in Odessa that included Governor Greg Abbott, Chief Gerke, and the FBI Special Agent In Charge of the investigation, more details have been revealed to the public. 

FBI investigators do not believe that the shooter is connected to any type of terrorist network at this time, but are still working to confirm. The FBI also stated that there are over 130 federal law enforcement personnel on the ground in Odessa, including FBI, DEA, and ATF agents to assist in the investigation. 

Cheif Gerke would also state that the shooter was believed to be heading into the movie theatre to maximize his casualty count, as the theatre is one of the most popular destinations for local citizens on the weekends. 

Police confirmed that the firearm used in the shooting was an "AR-type weapon". 

Police also confirmed that the shooter did not have any existing warrants out for his arrest prior to the traffic stop that set off the event, but that he did have a previous criminal record.