Latest violence raises death toll in US mass shootings to 53 in August
The seven people killed near Odesa, Texas, by a gunman brings the number of victims of mass killings by firearms to 53 in the month of August.
Texas, had four of the eight deadliest shootings in the US in 2019, according to the website Mass Shooting Tracker.
In the shooting on Saturday in Odessa, authorities said the gunman — identified as 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator, of Odessa — used an AR-type rifle. He shot and wounded three police officers before he was killed.
Law enforcement officials said on Sunday that the death toll in the West Texas shootings may have been even higher had the shooter not been stopped and killed outside a crowded movie theater.
The officials speculated the gunman may have planned to continue shooting inside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa before the hijacked US Postal Service vehicle he was driving was disabled by law enforcement officers.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said the gunman likely wouldn't drive to the theater unless he planned to go inside. He said the shooting remains under investigation but that his death outside the theater may have saved lives.
The US Postal Service said a 29-year-old employee was among the seven people killed.
Letter carrier Mary Granados was among those killed Saturday by the gunman who went on a more than 10-mile rampage. Authorities say he hijacked her mail carrier truck and fired at random as he drove in the area of Odessa and Midland.
Among the 22 wounded was a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was shot in the face, according to officials.
The other shootings in August include one on Aug 3 at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed and 26 others wounded by a gunman who targeted shoppers, in the predominantly Hispanic border city. The suspect, a white man in his 20s who was taken into custody, wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto that was posted online shortly before the attack, the authorities said.
On Aug 4, nine people were killed and 27 wounded in Dayton, Ohio, when a gunman wearing a mask and body armor opened fire in a busy entertainment district. The gunman's sister was among the dead, according to the police.