Updated 9/1: The New York Times reported on Sunday night that the gunman had been fired from his job a few hours before he began his shooting spree.
On the eve of new, less restrictive gun laws going into effect in Texas, a gunman killed at least seven people and injured more than 20 others, including police officers, in the Midland-Odessa area on Saturday.
The suspect—a white male in his 30s, according to police—was allegedly driving around shopping centers shooting people from a car. But the shooter was killed, the Midland Police Department said.
The shooter’s motive is not yet clear.
Gov. Greg Abbott called the incident — which began Saturday around 3:15pm, according to the Odessa police chief— an “attack.” Sen. John Cornyn had yet to issue any public statement (as of 6:57pm) that’s been reported by news outlets or on his Twitter feed.
[Update: At 7:12pm, Cornyn tweeted, “Tonight we are one with the entire Midland-Odessa community, especially the victims of this horrific tragedy.”]
Former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke said, “Our hearts are with Midland, Odessa, and everyone in West Texas who has to endure this again. We have to end this epidemic.” During a rally in Virginia on Saturday, he added, “Don’t know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them, but we do know this is fucked up.”
Julian Castro called reports out of the area “heartbreaking news.”
“We don’t know all the details of what happened today, but we certainly know what happened in El Paso and Dayton, and at Mother Emanuel church of Charleston where I was yesterday, and we know that we have to do something,” Castro said.
Beginning Sept. 1, gun owners can carry their weapons in more places, thanks to Abbott and the GOP-controlled legislature approving a battery of less restrictive gun laws. The NRA called the last legislative session “highly successful.”
In 2015 Abbott said he was “embarrassed” Texas didn’t have more gun sales.
Earlier this month, a white nationalist killed 22 and injured many more in El Paso. Following the attack, Abbott declined to call a special legislative session to address gun laws.
This story has been updated.