ODESSA, Texas -- Authorities say the death toll during a West Texas shooting rampage in which seven people died and 22 others were injured may have been even higher had the shooter not been stopped and killed outside a crowded movie theater.
At a news conference on Sunday, law enforcement officials speculated that the suspect may have planned to continue shooting inside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa before the hijacked U.S. Postal Service vehicle he was driving was disabled by law enforcement officers.
The suspect shot and wounded police officers before he was killed.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke says the gunman likely wouldn't drive to the theater unless he planned to go inside. Gerke says the shooting remains under investigation but that the suspect's death outside the theater may have saved lives.
Authorities identified the gunman as 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator, of Odessa.
Odessa is about 20 miles southwest of Midland. Both are more than 300 miles west of Dallas.
Mail carrier Mary Granados was alone in her U.S. Postal Service truck when she was shot and killed by a gunman who hijacked the white vehicle in West Texas amid his frenzy of violence.
Granados, 29, was among seven people between the ages of 15 and 57 killed on Saturday. Another 22 were injured including a toddler.
US Postal Service officials said in a statement on Sunday that they were "shocked and saddened" by the events, but were "especially grieving the loss of our postal family member."