'What a Horrific Day for Odessa'

Texas shooting began with a traffic stop
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2019 7:19 AM CDT
Texas Shooting Began With a Traffic Stop
A man prays outside of the Medical Center Hospital Emergency room in Odessa, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, following a shooting at random in Odessa and Midland. Several people were dead after a gunman who hijacked a postal service vehicle shot more than 20 people.   (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)

The nation's latest mass shooting began with a simple afternoon traffic stop: NBC News reports that a police officer pulled over the suspect, driving a gold Honda, for failing to signal a left turn around 3:17pm on Saturday between Midland and Odessa, Texas. The AP reports that the suspect, whom police are only identifying as a male in his 30s, "pointed a rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired several shots" before his car came to a complete stop with what police believe was an AR-15, shooting one of the two troopers who pulled him over. He then drove west to Odessa, firing randomly along the way. "The suspect continued shooting at innocent civilians all over Odessa," police said in a statement.

"I looked over my shoulder to the left and the gold car pulled up and the man was there and he had a very large gun and it was pointing at me," says one woman who was stopped at a light. She started honking her horn, and "we got a little ahead of him and then for whatever reason the cars in front of me kind of parted" and she sped away as more gunshots rang out. At some point later, the suspect hijacked a USPS truck before he was eventually killed outside a movie theater 10 miles from where he was initially pulled over. Seven people remain in critical condition, and one child under the age of 2 was reportedly shot in the face. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the rampage a "senseless and cowardly attack," but is himself being criticized as loosened gun laws he signed come into effect on Sunday. The shooting marks the 25th of the year in the United States. (More Texas mass shooting stories.)

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