News crew flees live set in middle of Odessa shooting spree

(Screengrab from YouTube)

A local CBS affiliate in Odessa, Texas, was reporting on an active shooter situation when the anchors were suddenly forced to take cover during the live broadcast.

KOSA-TV has a studio in the Music City Mall, which is in close proximity to where police confronted the gunman, and news anchors Jay Hendricks and Matthew Alvarez were reporting on the shooting when panic set in around them.

“We probably need to go,” Alverez told his colleague, after walking off the set. “We probably need to get off the air.”

Chaos and confusion reign as the remaining anchor quickly tried to make sense of what’s going on. Professional to the last moment, Hendricks is hesitant to walk off a live set and asked if he should send it back to programming.

He was quickly told no, just leave the set.

“We’re going to leave the set, we’re going to slip away for just a minute,” Hendricks tells viewers. “We don’t know what’s going on. People are running through the mall so we need to see what this is.”

Somewhat remarkably, the anchor continued to report from a position of cover.

Off camera, Hendricks tells viewers they’re not sure what’s happening, other than there are police officers there with their guns pulled.

Explaining that their studio is in the mall and there are windows all around, he added, “We want to make sure all our employees are protected.”

Once they believed it was safe, Hendricks returned to the set to explain to viewers what had happened.

“It is a mess right now,” he said of the commotion. “There’s shoes left on the floor, there are cups that were overturned.”

He returns to reporting on what they know, only to be suddenly told again to leave the set.

“We need to disappear,” Hendricks said, leaving much quicker than he did the first time.

According to authorities, the gunman, a white male in his 30s, was pulled over on a routine traffic stop on Interstate 20, the highway that connects Midland and Odessa, when he opened fire from inside his vehicle. Using a rifle, he began shooting through the rear window before his vehicle came to a full stop, striking one of two officers.

He began randomly shooting innocent bystanders and at one point stole a U.S. Postal Service vehicle. As he fled, the man was reportedly firing at people from the vehicle.

(Amid the early confusion, police believed there may be two gunman, but that was not the case.)

In all, at least five people were killed and 21 more injured — three law enforcement officers were among the injured.

The dramatic moment where police engage the gunman after he rammed into a road block was captured on camera, albeit from a distance.

*Caution: Disturbing Content

A terrifying video was posted on Facebook of bystanders going to the ground for cover as gunshots can be heard in the distance.

People are screaming and children crying as a man tries to convince everyone that they’re okay, his words of reassurance coming across somewhat shaky. A woman is seen in the video placing her body over a baby as multiple rounds are being fired.

“Who’s shooting, Dad?” a child is heard asking. “It’s OK, it’s OK. You’re going to be OK,” a man answered.



Posted by Antonio Orozco Garcia on Saturday, August 31, 2019

The family of one of the three law enforcement officers injured in Saturday’s shooting, Midland Police Officer Zack Owens, has set up a GoFundMe page.

The page was produced by Abigail McCullough, who is related to the officer by marriage, and she said he was shot multiple times in the arm and hand, with his most serious injury resulting from being struck in the eye by shards of glass.

“Please keep Zack in your prayers as we don’t know the outcome of the situation at this time,” McCullough said in the fundraising post.

As of this writing, the page has received nearly $40,000 in donations.


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