Police Say Odessa Gunman Was Denied Gun Purchase Due to Mental Health

By Victor Westerkamp

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stated on Twitter that Seth Aaron Ator, the alleged gunman in the Aug. 31 Odessa, TX, mass shooting, had a criminal record, previously failed a gun purchase background check, and did not go through a background check to buy the gun used in Saturday’s incident.

Abbott also 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,” Associated Press reported.

Abbot did not state why Ator did not pass the background check nor did he comment on how the gunman obtained the rifle he used in the Aug. 31 mass shooting.

Officials are investigating if Ator purchased the weapon used in the mass shooting through a private sale.

“I can tell you the conditions reflect what we believe his mental state was going into this,” special agent in charge of the FBI office in San Antonio, Christopher Combs, told a news conference on Monday, according to Associated Press.

Combs believes Ator was fired from his truck driver’s job earlier that day because of his ongoing mental state.

“He was on a long spiral of going down. He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk into his company, and then it happened. He went into that company in trouble. He’s probably been in trouble for a while,” Combs continued.

Ator was fired after a disagreement with his employer prior to the shooting rampage.  Afterwards, Ator called a national tip line and made rambling statements.  Within 15 minutes he was pulled over by Texas State Troopers on Interstate 20 in Midland for failing to use a turn signal and that’s when the shooting rampage began, Reuters reported.

Members of Congress will be back on Capitol Hill next week after August’s recess.  The battle will start again between advocates and opponents of stricter gun regulations and background checks.

On September 1, The Epoch Times published another article on the alleged gunman.

Odessa Texas Shooter Identified by Police

Authorities said Sunday they still could not explain why a man with an AR-style weapon opened fire during a routine traffic stop in West Texas to begin a terrifying, 10-mile rampage that killed seven people, injured 22 others and ended with officers gunning him down outside a movie theater.

Authorities identified the shooter as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, of Odessa. 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, although authorities have not said where Ator got his weapon.

Authorities look at a U.S. Mail vehicle involved in Saturday’s shooting outside the Cinergy entertainment center in Odessa, Texas, on Sept. 1, 2019. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)

Before the vehicle 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 stopping him, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger. The gunshots struck a trooper, Cesinger said, after which the gunman fled and continued shooting. At one point, he hijacked a mail carrier truck, killing the lone postal worker inside.

Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. The gunman then fired at police, wounding two officers. FBI special agent Christopher Combs said the gunman might have entered the theater if police had not killed him.

Associated Press contributed to this report