Gov. Greg Abbott, Odessa officials hold press conference regarding Midland-Odessa Shooting

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MIDLAND/ODESSA, Texas — On Sunday afternoon at approximately 12:30 p.m. local officials, joined by Gov. Greg Abbott, held a news conference regarding the mass shooting that took place Saturday, Aug. 31.

“After three in the afternoon, we had something happen that we would never wish on anyone,” said Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke.

Ranging in age from 15 to 57, Gerke said seven victims were killed. He said 22 were injured in the shooting, including three officers. He said the three DPS officers are expected to recover. 

Officials also mentioned a motive is not clear. There also seems to be no connection to any international or domestic terrorism groups.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Gerke said. “It is active. There are still multiple crime scenes that are being worked. There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point.”

According to police, the suspect had been pulled over for failing to signal. Officers also mentioned the suspect is from Ector County and had used an AR type weapon. Officers also believe the suspect went to the Cinergy theater for a reason. 

“Why go to the theater if you’re not going to enter the theater?” Gerke said. 

Officials also said the suspect’s criminal history would be revealed soon.

Officials said 130 FBI personnel are working in the area, as well as agencies that had responded to the shooting in Sutherland Springs.

Gerke refused to name the shooter during the news conference.

“I’m not going to give him any notoriety for what he did,” Gerke said. 

Gerke went on to say this mass shooting is a “different type of mass shooting because he was mobile.”

Gerke said they appreciate people bringing food and water to the crime scenes, but that it hindering the investigation.  He said they could bring it to the central location of UTPB.  

Gov. Greg Abbott said words alone are inadequate following the mass shooting. He said words must be met with action.

“We want people of the permian basin to know that all of Texans stand with you and embrace you at this time of challenge,” Abbott said. “We are here today. And we’ll be here everyday until this community is pieced back together.”

Abbott went on to thank DPS officers. 

“There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop,” Abbott said.

Abbott also expressed gratitude to health care providers. 

Gov. Abott said he has been staying in touch with the family of the 17-month-old child flown to University Medical Center in Lubbock. He said the child was not hit in the jaw. The child, however, will undergo surgery to remove the shrapnel from her chest. 

In the text, the child’s mother said they are thankful she is alive, Abbott said.

Abbott said he has “been to too many of the events” and action is necessary.

“Well, I am heartbroken by the crying of the people of the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “I am tired of the dying of the people of the state of Texas. Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable.”

Abbott said he has been holding daily meetings to address gun related violence. 

“There is no issue we will not look at,” Abbott said. 

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