News World Five dead and at least 20 wounded in Texas drive-by shootings

Five dead and at least 20 wounded in Texas drive-by shootings

Texas police man a roadblock during the frantic hours the gunman was on the loose. Photo: AP
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Five people are dead, including a shooter, and dozens wounded in a gun rampage in the cities of Midland and Odessa in west Texas.

“The active shooter was shot and killed at the Cinergy in Odessa,” Midland police said on Facebook, referring to a multiplex cinema complex.

“There is no active shooter at this time. All agencies are investigating reports of possible suspects.”

Odessa police previously said it was believed there were two shooters in separate vehicles driving around the city of 117,000, shooting at random people on Saturday.

However, at a subsequent press briefing, a police spokesman indicated reports of a second gunman were likely the result of the attacker switching vehicles when he dumped his pickup truck and hijacked a US Mail van.

Midland Mayor Jerry Morales told CNN the shooter was shot and killed in the car park of a movie theatre.

“We’re hoping it’s just one shooter and we have contained him,” he said.

Mr Morales said he did not know anything about the suspect or what his motive was. He said one police officer was shot and was in surgery with non-life-threatening injuries.

Odessa police chief Michael Gerke told reporters the danger appeared to have passed, but still urged residents to make caution their watchword.

“I would tell people to still be cautious, stay in their residences if possible. We do believe we have the threat contained but I can’t be 100 per cent positive,” he said.

“I think the issue with that, you had the original vehicle, and then you had the mail truck,” Mr Gerke said.

“At one point we didn’t know that that was the same person. That is confirmed now – same person.”

Authorities were working to establish the killer’s identity, with the only information released so far being that he was a white male in his thirties.

At least three police officers were among the wounded, CBS affiliate CBS 7 reported.

Initially, amid the terror and confusion that gripped Odessa and nearby Midland, local TV newscasts featured footage of a man identified as the second shooter being taken into custody.

Long after a hail of police bullets ended the rampage, police continued to be deluged with reports from a “jumpy public” of a second killer – reports officials discounted as due to mass panic rather than actual fact.

Conditions in local emergency rooms were described as “chaotic” as the deluge of arriving victims continued to grow.

A local hospital said it had taken in three patients in critical condition and three in stable condition, CBS7 reported.

However police officials said there were no more verified attacks after the shooter was killed.

The television station reported that armed police ran through the Music City Mall in Odessa, where CBS7 is located, and the building went on lockdown.

The shooting came after 22 people were killed at a Walmart store about 255 miles west of Midland in city of El Paso, Texas on August 2.

-with AAP