An active shooter in Odessa and Midland, Texas, killed at least 7 people, including a 15-year-old girl, and injured at least 24 people, including a 17-month-old girl and three police officers.
The victims were Leilah Hernandez, a 15-year-old Odessa High School student, Mary Granados, a 29-year-old U.S. Postal Service worker, Joseph Griffith, a 40-year-old father of two, Edwin Peregrino, a 25-year-old uncle who was visiting his parents from San Antonio, Rodolfo Julio Arco, a 57-year-old father who moved with his family to Odessa from Las Vegas, Kameron Karltess Brown, a 30-year-old U.S. Army veteran, and Raul Garcia of El Paso, a 35-year-old father of four.
The death toll increased to 8 the morning following the West Texas shooting, with 5 killed in Odessa and three killed in Midland, according to CBS 7.
The injured included a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was flown to a local hospital, according to KCBD. At least three members of law enforcement were also shot, including a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, a Midland Police Department officer and an Odessa Police Department officer, police said.
Granados was killed when the suspect hijacked her mail truck, according to News West 9.
A witness told News West 9 her brother saw the attack on the postal worker.
“He said heard a pop. So he went closer to the front door and there’s a window in our living room and you can see right out to the street. He first saw that white van and this little car. And he said that man was grabbing her somehow, and she was saying, ‘No no! Please!’ and he shot her in the hip,” she said.
One of the injured officers was identified as Zack Owens, a Midland Police Officer who was shot multiple times in the arm and hand, according to a GoFundMe page. He also suffered a serious injury to his eye from glass shards.
“Zack, and his brother Jake, are officers with the Midland Police Department. They risk their lives daily for the men and women of their community,” the page said.
The western Texas shooting rampage began with a traffic stop at about 3:15 p.m. August 31, 2019, Odessa police Chief Michael Gerke said in press conference, and continued in Odessa and Midland in the area of Interstate 20. Multiple members of law enforcement were among the shooting victims. It was not immediately clear whether they were among those killed.
Medical Center Hospital officials told CBS 7 that 14 victims were being treated at the hospital the evening of the shooting.
A fundraiser was set up for the injured 17-month-old victim, identified in the GoFundMe fundraiser as Anderson Davis. The page said she was hit by a bullet fragment.
A statement from the girl’s mother was posted on the fundraising page.
“We are on a very long drive to Lubbock,” it said. “Anderson is a live(sic) and that is a prayer answered bigger than I’ve ever had to pray. Her vitals are good. She is being flown to Lubbock while we drive. Not getting to fly with her is beyond painful. Anderson is 17 months old, has shrapnel in her right chest, which thank God is superficial. She has a hole through her bottom lip and tongue and her front teeth were knocked out. She is alive. When others today are not alive. I ask you to continue praying for our hearts as we experience this, pray for complete healing of Anderson, pray for every other family in our same situation, or worse, today and pray for the shooters. Pray that whatever is causing them to do this will be defeated by God and they will stop shooting.”
This post will be updated as additional victims are identified.
Here are the victims of the Odessa-Midland shooting:
Leilah Hernandez, a 15-year-old high school student, was among those tragically killed in the shooting spree in Odessa and Midland.
A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for her family. Her brother was also hospitalized, according to the fundraiser page.
More than $7,000 of the $10,000 fundraising goal was reached within two hours.
A friend wrote on Facebook, “We are so heartbroken to hear that our dear friend Leila Hernandez, has passed away to be with our Lord Jesus. We still don’t want to believe it. She was a victim in the tragic event that took place today in Odessa. We are grateful to have been a part of her life, and it hurts our hearts greatly that she is no longer with us on this earth. We had the privilege to have captured her & her families memories in her quince. She wasn’t just a client, she was a good friend of ours. Such a sweet girl, with such a big heart. Beautiful inside and out.❤️ Please keep her and her family in your prayers. Joanna Leyva ?May you rest in peace Leilah. You will be missed.”
Hernandez celebrated her quinceañera in May.
“I am in total shock and disbelief. I had just did Leila’s makeup and her family’s back in May for her quinceañera. Unfortunately this beautiful sweet soul was victim to the shootings that took place in Odessa today. Prayers to you Joanna Leyva and may God be there for you and your family through this difficult time. ? RIP ??” a Facebook post said.
A superintendent for the school district announced an Odessa High School student was killed in a statement.
Ector County Independent School District Superintendent Scott R. Muri wrote:
We are devastated by today’s violence, which claimed the lives of five people including one of our Odessa High School students. Our lives have been changed forever because of these events. ECISD counselors as well as counselors from the entire region are preparing to offer services to our students, staff and families. We will commit all the resources we have available to help our community heal from this horrific tragedy. The first responders in the Odessa community, including our ECISD Police Officers, have been outstanding and prevented an even greater loss of life.
Please hold your family and friends a little closer tonight and be grateful for the precious gift of life. I will keep you updated on any further developments.
The school district was on a lockdown for several hours while the situation was contained. Muri announced at about 8 p.m. the lockdown was lifted.
Mary Granados was the postal worker who was killed when the suspect hijacked her U.S. Postal Service vehicle. She was 29. A GoFundMe was set up to raise funds for her by a former coworker.
“I had the privilege to work with Mary before she started her career at USPS, she was beautiful inside and out, with a great heart and always ready to be a friend, always had a smile on her face!” the page said.
She had a twin sister, Rosie Granados.
People poured out support for the victim on social media.
“One of our Letter Carriers in Odessa was murdered and carjacked while working. Keep her family, postal & personal, in your prayers,” a Facebook post said.
A fellow postal worker expressed sadness that a person would attack a letter carrier in a post that was later deleted.
I am beyond saddened….grief-stricken for my sister Letter Carrier in Odessa TX and her families, both personal and Postal. This is not why I or any of us serving faithfully in your neighborhoods every day decided to make our life’s vocation as a USPS Letter Carrier. When I started in 1985, and certainly before that, Carriers were almost revered. Supremely trusted. Honored for our hard work and dedication. Admired and held in awe by little boys and girls in your cities and towns. I wore my first pith helmet when I was about 8 years old when our Carrier stepped into our house for a cool drink and some precious minutes of shade. Right then, I felt different. Unique. And looked upon my mailman and mail ladies (as I called them ) as Very Special People. I would never have dreamed that 50 years later some clown with ammo would think “There’s a Postal Truck with a Letter Carrier inside. I’m gonna steal that truck, grab that Carrier, and shoot her, then put her down for good just to keep her out of the way of my killing spree.” My anger at today’s events cannot be softened by any politician of any stripe, by any laws of any so-called strength, by any thoughts and prayers from any person or faith or group or movement. I have to process this. Last week a 40-year Carrier was killed by a man driving away from police in a head-on collision in Longmeadow, MA. Today….another senseless action taken to make the Postal Service a little bit weaker today, a lot more dangerous for its workers, and a final blow to the respect America as we knew it once had for its Most Trusted Federal Workers. If it’s even possible, I work the rest of my career with both eyes opened even wider than they have been since the rear-ender last December nearly took me off the street for good but for the Promaster I was driving. But for now….sigh. Sniffle. Heavy heart. and empty. Very Very empty….
Joseph Griffith was sitting at a traffic light with his wife and two children when he was shot and killed, The Washington Post reported.
“This maniac pulled up next to him and shot him, took away his life, murdered my baby brother. Like nothing,” his oldest sister, Carla Byrne, told the newspaper. “We are so broken.”
Joe Griffith was a former math teacher with a unique sense of humor who loved to do impressions. He formed a close bond with his students and had an endless devotion to his family, whom he worked six days a week to support.
“He was my baby brother,” Byrne said. “Our family is devastated and broken at this loss.”
A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for his family.
“This precious family was struck with tragedy yesterday as Joe Griffith, their husband and father, was struck and killed by a bullet in the senseless, random act of violence in our hometown of Odessa TX August 31, 2019,” the page said.
“Please consider helping Becky and her two young children as navigate their way without Joe. Joe was a Godly man who faithfully loved the Lord, his family and his church.
“If you cannot help financially, please keep them in your prayers for the hard days that lie ahead.”
A friend wrote on Facebook, “If you’re looking for a way to help out a family that was personally affected by yesterday’s tragedy, this is a friend of ours who lost her husband yesterday. He was driving and was struck by a bullet and was killed.”
“His wife and kids are mourning and could use some financial help to allow them to find a way to make it through all of this.”
Edwin Peregrino, 25, was visiting his parents’ home in Odessa to tell his family about his new life and job in San Antonio on August 31, 2019. He heard gunshots outside, which seemed to be coming from far away. But when he went outside to investigate, he was shot as the suspect sped by, according to The Washington Post.
“It happened at our home. You think you’re safe at your own house,” Eritizi Peregrino, 23, said in an interview with the newspaper. “You’re not even safe at your own house.”
He had just moved out of the Odessa home a few weeks earlier.
Eritizi Peregrino’s husband was also shot, but is recovering.
He was a beloved uncle to two nephews and a niece, with a strong desire to start his own family.
“You could always count on him for anything,” she said.“ He would always help my parents and his siblings. I knew I could always rely on him and call on him.”
Rodolfo Julio Arco
Arco, who went by Rudy, was a 57-year-old father who lived in Odessa. He was tragically killed August 31, 2019 in the second mass shooting in Texas in August.
His wife, Bari Arco, told NBC News he was coming home from work when he was shot.
“Now he’s gone,” she said.
The family previously lived in Las Vegas, but moved for his trucking business.
A GoFundMe was started to raise funds for his family.
“Rudy was a father, and friend who’s life was ended way too soon. Any donations would be very appreciated to help this family with such a sudden tragic event,” the GoFundMe said.
“In disbelief,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Rudy had such a great spirit and attitude towards life. Such a good person.. He was a regular customer where I work. My deepest condolences to his family. May god give you all strength and peace. May you Rest In Peace Rudy”
Kameron Karltess Brown
Brown was one of seven people gunned down in Odessa and Midland August 31, 2019. He was 30 years old and lived in Brownwood, Texas.
Brown was a U.S. Army veteran who was shot while he was sitting in his vehicle outside Ratliff Stadium, according to CBS 7. He was shot in the series of shootings after the suspect hijacked a mail truck, killing postal worker Granados.
He will be buried with military honors Thursday, September 12, 2019, according to his obituary.
A woman posted a tribute to Brown saying he was her best friend and godfather to her children.
“My best friend and my kids Godfather. I will miss you forever my hero. I love you so much,” she wrote.
Garcia was one of the seven victims tragically killed in the Odessa-Midland shooting. He was a 35-year-old man from El Paso, Texas and a father of four.
He was a truck driver who was driving home from work to be with his wife and children when he was gunned down, his wife, Perla, told KVIA.
His youngest child is three and his oldest child is 14, she said.
“He was a great dad,” she told ABC-7. “His kids love him. He was my hero. He was everything.”
His siblings told the TV station he was a giving person who was there for anyone who needed him.
“He was just reaching out and helping whoever needed it all the time,” the victim’s brother, Luis, told the news station.
At Least 7 Were Killed, & 24 Were Injured
Police confirmed that at least five people were killed and 24 people were injured.
Early reports indicated there were two shooters, but later reports indicated there was one shooter. The suspect was described as a white male in his mid-30s. He was killed following an exchange of gunfire near Cinergy, a local movie theater, police said.
It is common for early reports to indicate there are multiple shooters as chaotic and fluid situations unfold. In this situation, two vehicles were used in the shooting. Law enforcement did not immediately know the driver of both vehicles was the same person.
“That is confirmed now. Same person,” Gerke said in the news conference.
At 3:17 p.m., a trooper from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) attempted a traffic stop on a gold Honda. Law enforcement did not immediately say why the Honda was stopped. The driver stopped, but then shot the trooper, Gerke said. The suspect continued driving westbound and allegedly shot a person near I-20. He continued driving on the east loop of I-20 where there are “multiple scenes and multiple victims,” Gerke said.
“At some point the subject stole a mail truck, ditched his car, and there were other victims after that,” Gerke said.
The suspect then drove eastbound toward 42nd Street. The rampage ended near Cinergy movie theater in Odessa where members of Midland, Odessa and DPS exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was killed, according to Gerke.
Videos circulated on social media. Some captured the sound of gunfire.
“We have law enforcement injured, we have the DPS trooper in Midland County, we have one MPD officer and one OPD officer that were struck,” he said.
Gerke emphasized additional law enforcement agencies were involved, including the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, University of Texas police, and local school police.
“This was a joint effort between just a multitude of departments to find this animal and bring him to justice,” Gerke said.
While law enforcement received multiple shooting reports, Gerke said officials believe the situation was contained after the suspect was killed near Cinergy.
“We’ve had calls, which is to be expected because obviously people are a little jumpy after this, which is also to be expected,” he said. “Once this individual was taken out of the picture there have been no more victims.”
Still, he recommended locals stay inside as a precaution.
Gerke said no condition reports on the victims was immediately available because the situation was still unfolding.
“The big thing is it’s so chaotic, still, at the local hospitals that it’s very difficult to get that information,” he said.
Officials & Others Flooded Social Media with Condolences for Victims & Families
There was an outpouring of support and sympathy for the victims of the mass shooting in Texas from officials and the general public.
Senator Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter he is praying for the victims and their families in a series of tweets. He said he was grateful for law enforcement who “acted swiftly to stop the shooter and save others.”
“Heidi and I are heartbroken by this heinous attack, and we are lifting up in prayer all the victims, their families, and the entire Midland-Odessa community,” he wrote.
“We are thankful for the law enforcement officers who heroically risked their lives and acted swiftly to stop the shooter and save others. Their courage helped prevent even more senseless deaths, and we honor their tireless commitment to protecting us all,” Cruz continued.
“We Texans are standing together tonight united against all forms of hatred and violence,” he concluded.
Former Vice President Joe Biden also wrote about the shooting on Twitter and referenced a shooting less than one month earlier in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019.
“I’m heartbroken, sickened, & angry. Weeks after the horror in El Paso, another community in Texas has been terrorized by gun violence. Enough. We must end this epidemic,” he wrote. @DrBiden & I send our thoughts to those affected & thank our law enforcement who responded at great risk.”
“Praying for the 20+ victims of the Odessa shooting, and my heart goes out to the family of the fatal victim,” one person wrote on Twitter.