TEXAS– At least seven people were killed after a gunman went on a shooting rampage in west Texas on Saturday, in yet another episode of mass shootings that have plagued the United States for the last few years.
Police say the mass shooting, the second within the state during August, began with a traffic stop between the cities of Midland and Odessa.
The gunman shot at least 20 people, including motorists and passers-by. At one point, he abandoned his car and stole a US postal truck.
Police eventually shot dead the man, who has not been named, near a cinema.
The motive of the gunman, who was white and in his mid-30s, remains unclear.
The shooting occurred exactly four weeks after 22 people were killed by another gunman in the Texan city of El Paso.
At least three of those injured on Saturday were police officers – although the police say not all of them were shot. Some were cut by glass when their car windows were hit by bullets and shattered.
An infant aged 17 months was struck in his face by a bullet fragment and airlifted to hospital, Odessa’s Medical Center Hospital says. At least one person remained in a life-threatening condition on Sunday, according to police.
Saturday’s incident began just after 15:00 (20:00 GMT) after two Texas Department of Public Safety officers pulled over a vehicle on a Midland highway, police said.
The driver then opened fire on the officers before driving away and shooting at other people in several other locations.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was “horrified to see such a senseless act”. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “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.”
In a tweet, US President Donald Trump said he was being kept informed about the shootings.
Later, Vice-President Mike Pence said he and the Trump administration remained “absolutely determined to work with leaders in both parties in Congress to take steps that we can address and confront this scourge of mass atrocity in our country”.
Amid a clamour in the aftermath of the Texas and Ohio shootings earlier this month for increased background checks on firearm purchases, Mr Trump had said he was “looking to do background checks”.
But he appeared to reverse that position after a phone call with the chief executive of the National Rifle Association), Wayne LaPierre, saying: “I’m also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment, more so than most presidents would be. People don’t realise we have very strong background checks right now.”
SOURCE: BBC NEWS