The death toll from a mass shooting in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa has risen from five to seven, according to Odessa Mayor David Turner.
The mayor said that at least 18 remain injured — including a 17-month-old girl — following the shooting rampage that began after Texas state troopers attempted to pull over a vehicle Saturday afternoon on a Texas interstate for failing to signal a left turn.
The toddler, Turner said, is still in the hospital recovering from injuries that are “not as bad as they thought,” saying, “we are very grateful the injuries weren’t worse.”
As the community searches for answers about what motivated the gunman, the focus needs to be on the families of victims, the mayor said in an interview with NPR.
“We covet everyone’s prayers for those who were injured and for those loved ones who were lost and for the community as a whole,” Turner said.
Authorities in Texas are scheduled to hold a briefing on the shooting at noon local time to provide additional details about the incident.
Police say the gunman, described as a man in his mid-30s, fled police and then stole a postal truck and began firing indiscriminately at people along the highway and streets around Midland and Odessa.
Three law enforcement officers were wounded in the attack, and Turner said all three are in “stable”condition and still hospitalized.
“Our law enforcement are in as good condition as can be expected. Physical injuries are there, but there are also emotional injuries. And so, we’ll have to watch them close,” Turner said.
Police shot and killed the shooter outside of a movie theater in the Odessa area. The gunman’s motive has not been revealed.
The communities jolted by the massacre are in need of support right now, according to the Odessa mayor.
“In West Texas, we’re known for being strong and independent,” Turner said. “It’s time for us to come together and love on those who need are love that have lost friends and family.”