Odessa and Midland, Texas, shootings: what we know

At least 21 people were shot in West Texas in the towns of Odessa and Midland, about 300 miles east of El Paso. At least seven people were killed.

The shooting began during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon. The suspect shot the officer who stopped him, before driving off, continuing to fire seemingly at random. Officers pursued the suspect, who eventually abandoned his car and stole a US Post Office vehicle. Law enforcement officials caught up to the suspect at a movie theater, and after an exchange of gunfire, killed him.

What we know

  • At least 21 people were shot, according to Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke.
  • At least seven people were killed. Gerke said Sunday the victims ranged in age from 15 to 57.
  • At a press conference on Sunday, local law enforcement declined to name the suspect. The Associate Press reports he was 36-year-old Seth Ator. Police say the suspect had an address in Ector County, of which Odessa is the seat and largest city.
  • Medical Center Health System CEO Russell Tippin said in a press conference Saturday night that his hospital had treated 13 of the victims. Two of those people have been discharged; seven have been operated on and remain in critical condition, two are in serious condition, one died of their wounds, and one was transferred to a pediatric facility.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday that the youngest of the wounded is a 17-month-old girl who was shot. He said she is expected to recover following more surgeries.
  • As police pursued the suspect, one state trooper was shot on the interstate. Two other officers were also shot, one from Odessa, and one from Midland. Bystanders were also been wounded during the pursuit.
  • Midland Mayor Jerry Morales said a rifle was used in the attack. Gerke said Sunday the rifle was an “AR-type weapon.”
  • Following the shooting, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement calling the incident a “senseless and cowardly attack” and promising “that we will not allow the Lone Star State to be overrun by hatred and violence.”
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a similar statement, writing, “We Texans are standing together tonight united against all forms of hatred and violence.”
  • Democratic presidential candidates have also responded, including those with Texas connections. Former San Antonio, Texas mayor Julián Castro asked on MSNBC, “How many of these incidents do we have to see before we understand that we have to take action?” And former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said at a campaign stop in Virginia that while much remains unknown about this shooting, “We do know this is fucked up. We do know this has to stop in this country.”

What we don’t know

  • The motivation for the shooting.
  • The total number of people killed.