ODESSA, TX – Eight members of the New Black Panthers Party, an African-American activist group, were shot and killed Monday morning after taking over an unoccupied Federal Justice Department building just outside of Odessa, Texas. Two others were wounded.
According to Facebook posts the previous evening, the protestors were planning to occupy the building in protest what they considered to be injustices committed by the federal justice system.
“Once they can use these lands as free men, then we will have accomplished what we came to accomplish,” said Black Panther spokesman Byan Rundy in a video address the night before.
Rundy continued, “People need to be aware that we’ve become a system where government is actually claiming and using and defending people’s rights, and they are doing that against our people.”
“The only violence that comes our way will be because government wants their building back,” he said, “We are not terrorists. We are concerned citizens and realize we have to act if we want to pass along anything to our children.”
The events started at approximately 8:20AM when twenty-two members of the New Black Panthers Party, donning military uniforms and armed with a assault rifles, entered the Justice Department building. Carrying assault rifles in public is legal in the state of Texas.
The members had occupied the building, which had been empty for several years, for approximately 45 minutes before local and state police arrived and surrounded it. During negotiations, the Black Panthers provided vague claims as to what their specific demands were but remained peaceful and nonthreatening despite their heavy arms.
At approximately 9:40AM a shot rang out from behind one of the local police car’s opened doors. It set off a wave of fire from all the law enforcement surrounding the building which lasted approximately three and a half minutes, according to witnesses.
During the volley, over 700 rounds were discharged by law enforcement officers. The name of the officer who fired the first shot is currently unknown.
Once the smoke had cleared, the officers secured the building and found that no shell casings were present inside the building. As was confirmed in an analysis of the scene later that day, the assault rifles held by Black Panther members were not loaded.
“People need to be aware that we’ve become a system where government is actually claiming and using and defending people’s rights, and they are doing that against our people.” – New Black Panther Spokesman Byan Rundy
Comparisons are already arising to a similar event which ended peacefully in Oregon back in 2016. The Daily Orb will continue its coverage of the situation in Odessa as it develops.
UPDATE: The violence continued Tuesday night in Odessa as several unarmed members of the Black Panther Party attempted to protest the massacre of their fellow members the previous morning.
Between eight and ten party members were immediately fired up on by law enforcement as they demonstrated — unarmed — near the federal buildings where the violence had occurred the previous day.
“We’ve given the police all the authority they need to handle the situation – so yes, we’ve green-lighted whatever further action is necessary against these animals,” said President Trump at a White House press conference.
This all in stark contrast to the eerily-similar situation from Oregon in 2016 where anti-government protestors — who were all white — staged an armed takeover of a federal building and were ushered out in peaceful fashion even after vandalism and intimidation accusations.