For the second time in a month, West Texas residents have died in a mass shooting. This time, it started after Texas state troopers attempted to pull over a man for failing to signal. The driver, a local man, pulled out a rifle, opened fire and wounded an officer. Then, he went on a shooting spree that spanned two cities – Midland and Odessa. Police eventually killed the shooter.
Eight people died, including the shooter – five in Odessa and three in Midland. Twenty-two others were injured. Disagreement over what to do about the prevalence of mass shootings has left Texans grieving, fearful and angry.
Jerry Morales is mayor of Midland. He says residents of Midland and Odessa attended a vigil to mourn the victims and support those continuing to recover.
“We’ve got a lot of pain in our communities, and this morning I would say there’s a little bit more calmness, but a lot of pain still in the air, and just trying to understand and digest all that took place in the last couple of days,” Morales says.
Reports indicate that the shooter had lost his job recently, but it’s unclear if that’s true and whether it was a motive for the attacks.
“There was just so much movement and activity everywhere,” Morales says. “There’s a lot to learn, a lot to understand, but … he was possibly disgruntled against his previous employer,” Morales says.
Morales suggests that individuals who commit mass shootings may be experiencing mental illness, and that this may have been a cause of this weekend’s shooting. [The American Psychological Association refutes such claims, stating, “Only a very small percentage of violent acts are committed by people who are diagnosed with, or in treatment for, mental illness.] Morales also says some changes should be made to gun laws, though he’s not sure which ones.
“I think for me, yesterday, the tipping point was when the FBI stated that this is happening every two weeks now,” Morales says. “So they’re only going to be here to finish the investigation, and they’ve got to get to the next one because it happens every two weeks.”
Morales says his community needs the prayers of fellow Texans.
“We would ask that you just continue to pray for our two communities – for the Permian Basin – and think about those who are still in a lot of grief.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.