Texas shooting – Odessa shooter who killed seven and injured 22 is named as Seth Ator, 36, who was ‘known to cops’
THE gunman who shot dead seven and injured 22 others in a 10-mile rampage in Texas has been identified as a local who was known to cops.
Seth Aaron Ator, 36, opened fire with an AR-style rifle during a routine traffic stop on Saturday and went on a shooting spree before being killed by police.
Texas shooter Seth Aaron Ator, 36, is seen grinning in a police mugshot from 2001[/caption]
Ator, from Odessa, West Texas, had a criminal record and was arrested in 2001 and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and evading arrest.
He entered guilty pleas in a deferred prosecution agreement where the charge was waived after he served 24 months of probation, according to records.
That brush with the law would not have prevented Ator from legally purchasing firearms in Texas, although officials have not said where Ator got his weapon.
Investigators are looking into a possible motive for the shooting rampage – which ended when Ator was gunned down in hail of bullets outside a cinema.
The gunman killed postal worker Mary Granados and hijacked her mail van before rampaging through Odessa and Midland[/caption]
Odessa and Midland police and sheriff’s deputies surround a white van in Odessa, Texas[/caption]
He is thought to have acted alone and federal investigators believe the shooter had no ties to any terror group, FBI special agent Christopher Combs said.
The chaotic attack began when Texas state troopers tried pulling over a gold car on Interstate 20 for failing to signal a left turn.
Before the car came to a complete stop, the driver “pointed a rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired several shots” toward the patrol car, hitting a trooper.
The gunman then fled and continued shooting – firing his rifle at random strangers.
What we know so far:
- At least seven people were killed and 22 injured as well as three cops in a shooting rampage in Texas
- Gunman has been named as local Seth Aaron Ator, 36, who was ‘known to cops’
- Rampage began at 4pm on Saturday in the town of Midland with a traffic stop where gunfire was exchanged with cops
- The suspect hijacked a US Postal Service Van and began shooting passersby at random
- Police chased him to a Cinergy cinema in Odessa – sparking a panicked evacuation of a shopping mall
At one point he killed postal worker Mary Granados and hijacked her mail van before rampaging through Odessa and neighbouring Midland.
Officials said seven people, between the ages of 15 and 57, were killed in the 10-mile shooting spree.
Ator was chased down by police who used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside Cinergy cinema in Odessa.
The gunman then fired at police, wounding two officers in the gunfight.
But Ator was eventually shot dead by cops, with witnesses describing hearing 40 shots.
Agent Combs said the gunman might have stormed the cinema and killed more innocent victims if he had not been stopped.
“In the midst of a man driving down the highway shooting at people, local law enforcement and state troopers pursued him and stopped him from possibly going into a crowded movie theatre and having another event of mass violence,” Combs said.
At least 22 people were injured in the rampage, including the three cops and a 17-month-old girl, who suffered injuries to her face and chest.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke initially refused to say the name of the shooter during a news conference, saying he wouldn’t give him notoriety.
But police later posted his name on Facebook. A similar tack has been taken in some other recent mass shootings.
The shooting came at the end of an already violent month in Texas.
On August 3, a gunman in the border city of El Paso killed 22 people at a Walmart.
The Odessa massacre is the latest in a list of mass shootings, which has seen 70 killed since 2016 in Texas alone.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “I have been to too many of these events.
“Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable, and action is needed.”
But Abbott, a Republican, remains noncommittal about imposing any new gun laws in Texas at a time when Democrats and gun-control groups are demanding restrictions.
And even as Abbott spoke, a number of looser gun laws that he signed this year took effect on the first day of September, including one that would arm more teachers in Texas schools.
Saturday’s shooting brings the number of mass killings in the US so far this year to 25, matching the number in all of 2018, according to a national database.
Witnesses described gunfire near shopping plazas and in busy intersections.
Injured Anderson with her dad Garret, mum Kelby, and twin brother Rhett[/caption]
The little girl was rushed to hospital with face and chest injuries[/caption]
A group of locals gather around what appears to be a wounded person on the road in Texas following a deadly mass shooting[/caption]
People are evacuated from Cinergy Odessa cinema following a shooting in Odessa, Texas[/caption]
A truck with bullet holes at the side of Interstate 20 between Midland and Odessa[/caption]
A silver car with a bullet hole in the driver side window[/caption]
Bullet holes can be seen in the window of a vehicle caught in the crossfire of a mass shooting[/caption]
A woman watches as two heavily armed cops prepare their weapons during the active mass shooting in Texas[/caption]
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