The gunman who killed seven people and wounded 22 in a shooting rampage across West Texas on Saturday was fired from his job hours earlier.
The shooter, identified as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, lost his job as a truck driver on Saturday morning, media and officials reported. A few hours later, Texas state troopers pulled Ator over in Midland for not using his turn signal, police said.
Armed with an AR-type rifle, Ator fired out the back window of his vehicle, injuring one trooper, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement. Then, he drove off, spraying gunfire indiscriminately.
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At one point, Ator abandoned his vehicle and hijacked a postal service van, mortally wounding 29-year-old postal carrier Mary Grandos in the process.
Officers cornered Ator in the parking lot of a movie theater in Odessa, where he was shot and killed.
On Sunday, police were combing through 15 different crime scenes in Midland and Odessa, Texas. They have yet to identify a motive for the shooting.
“There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point, but we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone,” Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said at a Saturday news conference. He declined to name Ator, saying he didn’t want to give him the “notoriety.”
Texas shooter’s innocent victims are remembered
Officials have not confirmed the identifies of the victims, but said they ranged from 57 years old to as young as 15. Loved ones named and remembered many of them in the press.
Among the wounded were a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was shot in the face. She will have surgery Monday to remove shrapnel from her chest, Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday at a news conference. The child will recover, he said.
Three police officers were injured during the rampage: one from Midland, one from Odessa, and a state trooper. All three were in stable condition.
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In a Sunday tweet, President Donald Trump praised Texas law enforcement and first responders, as well as Abbott, for their response to the shooting.
Great job by Texas Law Enforcement and First Responders in handling the terrible shooting tragedy yesterday. Thank you also to the FBI, @GregAbbott_TX and all others. A very tough and sad situation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
Seth Ator showed signs of instability before being fired from his job
Police said Ator had a criminal record. According to online court documents, Ator had convictions in 2002 for criminal trespass and evading arrest. State Rep. Tom Craddick told the Midland Reporter-Telegram newspaper that Ator had also previously failed a background check.
Ator’s neighbor told CNN that he came up to her house last month with a rifle and yelled at her for leaving trash in a nearby dumpster. She said that she called police abut the incident but they never showed up because the property is difficult to find.
The neighbor also said she had seen Ator at night shooting animals in his yard from a structure on top of his home. She said his home had no running water or electricity.