Five people have been killed and 21 injured after a shooting near the twin towns of Midland and Odessa in west Texas.
The gunman, who opened fire after his car was stopped by police on Saturday afternoon, was killed by police after being chased to a parking lot at an entertainment complex.
No details of the dead victims had been released early on Sunday but one of those injured was a 17-month-old boy who had been shot in the face and airlifted to hospital in Lubbock, officials at the Medical Center hospital in Odessa said.
It was the second mass shooting in Texas this month. On 3 August a gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 at a Walmart in El Paso.
The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, said: “The first lady and I are heartbroken over this senseless and cowardly attack, and we offer our unwavering support to the victims, their families, and all the people of Midland and Odessa.”
Authorities said the incident started to unfold about 3.17pm local time when a Texas public safety trooper stopped a gold Honda for failing to signal a left turn.
Before the vehicle came to a complete stop, the driver “pointed a rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired several shots” toward the patrol car stopping him. The gunshots struck one of two troopers inside the patrol car, police said, after which the gunman fled “and continued shooting innocent people”. At least three officers were injured in the attack.
The suspect stole a mail truck and continued to shoot, authorities said. Police described the gunman as a white man in his mid-30s.
Shauna Saxton was one of the terrified drivers who said she was a target of the suspect during his rampage. She was driving with her husband and grandson in Odessa and had paused at a stoplight 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.
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. Their vehicle finally escaped but they heard three more shots as they sped away.
The mayor of Midland, Jerry Morales, earlier told CNN the injuries were not necessarily all from gunshots. One Midland police officer and one state law enforcement official were in surgery for non-life-threatening injuries, he said.
Earlier, both the Midland and Odessa police departments said there were two suspects in the shooting, which Midland police originally said began at a Home Depot store in Odessa.
A spokeswoman for Home Depot said in an email to the Guardian: “There was not a shooting in our store in Odessa [or Midland].”
The suspect was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Cinergy complex, Morales said, adding that it was between Odessa and Midland. Midland and Odessa are in the western part of Texas, about 20 miles apart. Cinergy is a cinema and entertainment chain.
Amid the confusion, the University of Texas of the Permian Basin was placed on lockdown.
The White House said Donald Trump had been briefed. The president was monitoring the approach of Hurricane Dorian from his golf club in Virginia and from the Maryland retreat at Camp David.
After the El Paso shooting and another the next day in Dayton, Ohio in which nine people were killed and more than 20 injured, Trump seemed to edge towards accepting some sort of bipartisan move for gun control reform. He soon retreated, repeating talking points promoted by the National Rifle Association.
On Saturday the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump, tweeted: “I’m heartsick for the victims of this latest mass shooting in Odessa and Midland. We shouldn’t have to live with this near daily fear and horror. We’ve already lost far too many to gun violence –Congress must act now.”
Another Democratic contender, the 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. More information is forthcoming, but here’s what we know: we need to end this epidemic.”