Texas Shooter Was Fired

FBI: Gunman troubled before job woes, shooting

AP News
September 02, 2019 - 5:32 pm

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

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ODESSA, Texas (AP) —  An FBI agent says the gunman in a West Texas rampage that killed seven people "was on a long spiral down" before he was fired from his job on the day of the shooting.

FBI special agent Christopher Combs said Monday that where 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator lived was "a strange residence" and that the conditions "reflect what his mental state was going into this."

Authorities say Ator was fired Saturday morning from his job at Journey Oilfield Services and made "rambling" phone calls to both the 911 and the FBI afterward. Combs says Ator had gone to work that day "in trouble."

Ator was killed by police outside an Odessa move theater to end a chase that covered more than 10 miles (16 kilometers).

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2:15 p.m.

Authorities say the gunman in a West Texas rampage was fired from his job and called both police and the FBI before the mass shooting began.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said Monday that 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator had been fired over the weekend from Journey Oilfield Services. He said both Ator and the company called 911 after being fired Saturday but that Ator was gone by the time police showed up. FBI special agent Christopher Combs says Ator's statements on the FBI tip line were "rambling."

Ator was stopped 15 minutes later by a Texas state trooper on an interstate for failing to signal a lane change. Authorities say Ator opened fire on the troopers and fled, shooting at random passers-by and vehicles.

Police gunned down Ator at a movie theater in Odessa to end the chase.

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1:30 p.m.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says the criminal history of a man who killed seven people in West Texas this weekend means "we must keep guns out of criminals' hands."

Abbott's tweet Monday is similar to his comments that followed another mass shooting in El Paso last month, when the governor said firearms must be kept out of the hands of "deranged killers." But Abbott, an avid gun rights supporter, has been noncommittal on tightening gun laws in Texas.

Police killed 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator outside an Odessa movie theater Saturday to end a rampage that began when Ator fled a traffic stop. Court records show Ator was arrested in 2001 for a misdemeanor offense that would not have prevented him from legally purchasing firearms in Texas.

Abbott tweeted that Ator failed a previous gun background check and didn't go through one for the weapon he used in Odessa. But Abbott didn't elaborate on when Ator failed the background check or the reasons why.

His spokesman referred questions to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.