Residents Question Why Authorities Didn't Shoot to Kill During West Odessa Standoff

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

WEST ODESSA - Victor White allegedly kept authorities at bay for 22 hours after gunning down two sheriff's deputies and a civilian this past weekend.

In the end, the suspect in the West Odessa stand-off made it out alive. It's raised the question why didn't the Ector County Sheriff's Office shoot to kill?

Police tape and cones is all that's blocking Victor White's compound now. The place where he allegedly held off more than 150 law enforcement officers for hours.

After NewsWest 9's interview with Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson it sounds like luck might have been on White's side.

"Most of the shots where either coming from helicopters or armored vehicles that have small portals to shoot from," Donaldson said. "We just couldn't get a clear shot of him. Of course he was hiding obviously and it just didn't happen."

Donaldson says his department and the more than 25 agencies assisting with the stand-off were using deadly force.

"He was firing at our officers and every officer that was out there," he said. "In some cases there were innocent civilians around that were in danger."

Citizens like Susie Estrada and her family.

Living right across from White's compound, she's shocked law enforcement didn't shoot him.     

"My husband was out here about 10 or 15 minutes watching everything going on, and yeah my husband could see him walking up and down," Susie Estrada said. "He had a clear shot at him, I don't understand why they didn't. It was a lot of them. One of them could have had a clear shot."

SWAT evacuated her family from their home Friday, but after not being able to go home for days, she wishes they had shot him.

"Yeah it would have saved us a lot of trouble if they could have done it quicker," she said. "But they took their time and that's the way they do it."

Estrada was able to go home Sunday, a day after White surrendered. 

Donaldson says he doesn't care that White made it out alive, he's just glad the standoff ended.
"If the outcome would have been the other way around I wouldn't have felt bad about him losing his life if it had ended up being that way," Donaldson said.

The Texas Rangers are still combing the crime scene as they try to complete their investigation.