The Ector County Sheriff’s Office detailed in a press release that one person is in custody after multiple law enforcement agencies had been searching for a possible serial gunman who shot and killed a man Thursday night.
ECSO stated in the Friday afternoon press release that the suspect’s name isn’t being released at this time.
During a press conference Friday morning, Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis said there have been four shootings since Tuesday and two of those shootings resulted in one man hospitalized and the other killed.
The most recent of the possible serial shootings happened at 10:42 p.m. Thursday on Business Interstate 20 between Farm-to-Market Road 1936 and the Interstate 20 overpass.
Griffis said a man’s car was broken down on the side of the road and he needed help. A suspect in a white pickup pulled up next to him, offered to help and it then turned fatal.
“I just want to caution the public,” Griffis said. “Be on the lookout for a white pickup.”
Griffis said he believes the shootings could be connected because of matching vehicle descriptions — a white pickup — but he hasn’t confirmed a make or model.
Witnesses have also described the white pickup to be a crew cab and extended cab.
“How many white pickups are in West Texas? A bunch,” Griffis said.
Though many of the vehicle reports have been the same, Griffis said his department had conflicting reports on the description of the gunman. Shooter descriptions have varied from a tall white man with hair to a tall bald Hispanic man.
Griffis also said there have been multiple weapons, but he said he believes all are handguns.
“We can’t confirm nor deny these are all related,” Griffis said. “All of them have things that are in common.”
The possible serial shootings began at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday at Eighth Street and Grant Avenue, while the next happened later that morning at 7:36 a.m. at Farm-to-Market Road 866 and Interstate 20.
The third shooting happened at 4:22 p.m. Tuesday on Meteor Crater Road and Interstate 20 near the Pilot gas station. A man was shot in the abdomen while he was waiting on the side of the road for a crew truck to arrive. That man was later treated and released from Medical Center Hospital. The fourth shooting was fatal on Thursday night.
Griffis said the identities of the two men who were shot aren’t being released at this time as he said both are ongoing investigations.
ECSO is taking the lead on this investigation, but is receiving assistance from the Odessa Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers and Ector County Hospital District Police.
“We are actively pursuing this individual,” Griffis said. “We will bring him to justice.”
This series of shootings has happened less than a month after 36-year-old gunman, Seth Aaron Ator, killed 7 people and injured 25 others in a mass shooting on Aug. 31 in Odessa. Ator was shot and killed by law enforcement agencies at 4:17 p.m. later the same day in a gun battle near Cinergy Theatre.
Griffis said his department has worked day and night to find this possible serial gunman.
“My guys are mad that somebody is doing this,” Griffis said. “They are determined to get this guy and we are determined to get this guy. We are going to get him.”