As a Saturday shooting spree unfolded across two Texas cities, killing at least seven people and injuring 22 others, a TV station crew’s evacuation was broadcast live while an anchor gave a play-by-play of the chaos.
“We’re going to slip away for just for a minute,” Matthew Alvarez said on CBS affiliate KOSA-TV, which has its studio located in Odessa’s Music City Mall, near where the carnage began. At the time, only five people had been reported dead.
“We don’t know what’s going on,” he said after leaving the view of the camera. “People running through the mall, so we need to see what this is.”
With the mic still on, a woman can then be heard saying, “Get in the car, get in the car.”
“There is trash everywhere on the floor,” Alvarez said of the scene inside the shopping center. “We don’t know why. There are people still running.”
Continuing with his report despite little immediate information, the anchor called it “an active situation,” adding that police had just arrived.
“We do have officers with guns drawn who just came here through the mall,” he said. “We’re keeping our signal up, but we are going to be as safe as possible.”
Odessa police said the white male suspect’s rampage began that afternoon when a state trooper attempted to pull him over on Interstate 20 in the neighboring city of Midland for a minor traffic violation. The driver then opened fire, speeding away before hijacking a U.S. Postal Service truck in which he continued his massacre.
The alleged gunman, who was using an AR-style rifle, was finally confronted at Cinergy movie theater in Odessa, where he was killed in a shootout.
The violence comes just four weeks after a gunman killed 22 people at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart. Just one day later, another nine were shot dead in downtown Dayton, Ohio. In total, both incidents left more than 50 injured.