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ABC Eyewitness News 13
Monday, September 2, 2019
ODESSA, Texas — Authorities have identified the gunman who opened fire at random in the West Texas city of Odessa as 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator.
As federal agents join the investigation into why this mass shooting happened, we have learned more about the gunman.
Odessa police say the death toll is now seven after Ator was stopped by state troopers opened fire and fled, shooting people at random.
Authorities spent Sunday combing through more than 15 crime scenes and searching Ator’s home and car.
Still working to determine the reason behind the shooting, authorities tell ABC13 he used an AR-style weapon during the 10-mile long shooting spree.
Odessa police spokesman Steve LeSueur said Sunday that at least one person remains in “life-threatening” condition.
The shooting set off a chaotic afternoon in which police reported that a suspect hijacked a U.S. Postal Service vehicle and began firing at random in the area of Odessa and Midland, hitting multiple people. Police initially reported that there could be more than one shooter, but Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke says authorities now believe it was one shooter.
Saturday’s horror ended in the parking lot near the Cinergy movie theater where he shot two police officers before being gunned down.
At this time, police do not believe this was part of a terroristic plot.
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Police raised concerns about West Texas gunman 8 years before mass shooting — (Fox News 29 Philadelphia)
Published September 29, 2019
Mass shootings in Odessa and Midland left seven people dead and 22 others injured.
AMARILLO, Texas – Police reports describe concerns eight years ago that the gunman who killed seven and wounded 25 last month in West Texas might have been planning an attack.
Officers in Amarillo, Texas, went to the suspect’s mother’s home in February 2011 after she told them he had refused to take his mental-health medication and had threatened to end his own life in a shootout with police, CNN reported.
They found a machete hidden in her son’s bed and an underground shelter he had dug in the backyard. In a recording the mother shared with police, her son declared, “911 will bow down before me.”
Police interpreted what they found as preparations for an attack and were so troubled that they recorded floor plans of the property and shared the information with the city’s SWAT team, according to incident reports.
Officers believed the gunman was volatile and might hurt somebody someday. Amarillo police on Sunday did not immediately respond to an open records request from The Associated Press about the February 2011 case.
The police incident reports raise new questions about whether more could have been done to prevent the suspect’s shooting spree in the cities of Midland and Odessa, Texas. It’s unclear how the gunman, who once failed a background check for an attempted firearm purchase, acquired the AR-15-style rifle he used in the attack. Officers killed the gunman outside a busy Odessa movie theater after the shooting rampage that lasted more than an hour.
“There seemed to be some indication of some planned standoff with police,” one of the responding officers wrote in a report following the 2011 encounter.
Another officer stated in an incident report at the time that he believed the gunman “will attempt to harm the police and the public.”
After inspecting the home, officers transported the suspect to a hospital and he was medicated and admitted to a mental health treatment facility, according to the report.
Police reports note that while in that facility the gunman told security: “The police can’t be everywhere.” An officer stated: “I took this as a threat against the public.”