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Gunman in Texas shooting had been fired from job, denied a gun through background check, officials say

September 04, 2019

Gunman in Texas shooting had been fired from job, denied a gun through background check, officials say

The man who went on a savage frenzy Saturday in West Texas had been terminated from his activity that day, Odessa police say.

Seven exploited people passed on and 25 more were injured in the assault that started when state troopers attempted to pull the shooter over on Interstate 20 for neglecting to flag a left turn.

Authorities on Monday named six of the seven who were killed in the frenzy: Joe Griffith, 40; Mary Granados, 29; Edwin Peregrino, 25; and Rodolfo Julio Arco, 57, all of Odessa; Kameron Karltess Brown, 30, of Brownwood; and Raul Garcia, 35, of El Paso.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke takes a moment during a press conference at the University of Texas Permian Basin on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. (Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

A 15-year-old young lady was additionally executed in the shooting, authorities said. She has been recognized by loved ones as Leilah Hernandez.

On Monday, Odessa police Chief Michael Gerke illustrated a timetable of the occasions paving the way to the shooting.

He additionally included that authorities had scholarly of another unfortunate casualty — a 70-year-elderly person — who was harmed by shrapnel and was dealt with and discharged from a clinic.

Gerke said the shooter, Seth Aaron Ator, had gotten down to business Saturday morning at Journey Oilfield Services and was there for a brief span before he was terminated.



Thereafter, he and his boss called 911 to report a contradiction over the end, however Ator had left before Odessa officials arrived.

Specialists did not give insights concerning the contradiction and did not say to what extent Ator had worked for the organization.

Around 15 minutes before his experience with troopers, the man called a national FBI tip line yet did not make any dangers, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Combs said Monday.

“It was, frankly, rambling statements about some of the atrocities he felt he had gone through,” Combs said.

The troopers were not actively looking for Ator’s car when he was pulled over, Gerke said.

The 36-year-old fired several shots toward a Texas Department of Public Safety vehicle, striking one trooper. He then continued shooting, at random as he drove between Midland and Odessa, authorities said.

At one point, Ator hijacked a mail van, killing the postal worker inside. Police later rammed the van with an SUV outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa. The gunman then fired at police, wounding two officers before he was fatally shot.

Online court records show Ator was arrested in 2001 for a misdemeanor offense that would not have prevented him from legally purchasing firearms in Texas.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Ator was denied a gun after a background check was run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check system. Authorities have not said when or why the decision to deny Ator’s request was made.

Officials also have not said where he got the “AR-type weapon” he used Saturday.

Officials completed their search of Ator’s property Sunday, a “very strange residence” in Ector County, Combs said.

“The conditions reflect what his mental state was going into this,” said Combs, who did not elaborate on the state of the property. “He was on a long spiral of going down.”

The motive for the shooting remained unclear Monday, and Gerke said the reason may never be determined.

“The only way to determine that is if we could talk to him and we can’t,” he said.




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