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  1. ITV Report

Texas mass shooting death toll rises to seven

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery

The death toll in a west Texas shooting rampage has increased to seven as authorities investigate why a man stopped by state troopers for failing to indicate opened fire on them.

After shooting at police, the man then fled, firing at more than 20 people as he drove before being killed by officers outside a cinema.

Two law-enforcement officials, speaking anonymously, identified the gunman as Seth Ator, who records show is 36 years old.

Police say the victims were between 15 and 57 years old. Among the injured is an infant girl, hit in the face by shrapnel.

Odessa and Midland police and sheriff’s deputies surround the area behind Cinergy cinema in Odessa, Texas. Credit: Tim Fischer/Midland Reporter-Telegram via AP

Odessa police chief Michael Gerke had refused to publicly say the name of the gunman during a national televised news conference on Sunday, saying he did not want to give the shooter notoriety.

The suspect shot "at innocent civilians all over Odessa", according to police.

The terrifying chain of events began when state troopers tried pulling over a gold car on Interstate 20 for failing to indicate when turning left, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Katherine Cesinger said.

Before the vehicle came to a complete stop, the driver "pointed a rifle towards the rear window of his car and fired several shots" towards the patrol car stopping him.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said three police officers were injured by the gunman. Credit: AP

The gunshots struck one of two troopers inside the patrol car, Ms Cesinger said, after which the gunman fled and continued shooting in the Odessa and Midland area.

The two cities are in the heart of Texas oil country more than 300 miles west of Dallas.

Two other police officers were shot before the suspect was killed.

US President Donald Trump expressed a commitment Sunday, hours after the latest deadly mass shooting, to work with a divided Congress to "stop the menace of mass attacks."

He said any measures must satisfy the competing goals of protecting public safety and the constitutional right to gun ownership.

President Donald Trump speaks at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington. Credit: AP

Shauna Saxton was one of the terrified drivers who said she encountered the gunman during his rampage.

She was driving with her husband and grandson in Odessa and had paused at traffic lights when they heard loud pops.

"I looked over my shoulder to the left and the gold car pulled up and the man was there and he had a very large gun and it was pointing at me," she told TV station KOSA.

Ms Saxton said she was trapped because there were two cars in front of her.

"I started honking my horn. I started swerving and we got a little ahead of him and then for whatever reason the cars in front of me kind of parted," she said sobbing.

She said she heard three more shots as she sped away.

The shooting comes just four weeks after a gunman in the Texas border city of El Paso killed 22 people after opening fire at a Walmart.

Texas governor Greg Abbott this week held two meetings with lawmakers about how to prevent more mass shootings in Texas.

The shooting brings the number of mass killings in the US so far this year to 25, matching the number in all of 2018, according to the AP mass murder database.