Odessa Shooter Armed With AR-Style Rifle, Police Said

Odessa shooter gun

Getty The Odessa shooter was armed with an AR-style gun, police said.

The Odessa shooting suspect was armed with an AR-style rifle, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

Seth Ator bought his weapon through a private-sale loophole, law enforcement officials told ABC News. He was prohibited from buying or possessing a weapon because of a mental health diagnosis.

Ator had an arrest history which included two misdemeanors, court records obtained by Heavy indicated.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott spoke about gun control at the press conference September 1, 2019, less than 24 hours after the shooting that began with a routine traffic stop near Interstate 20 at about 3:15 p.m. August 31. At least 7 victims were killed, and an additional 24 victims were injured. Read more about the victims here.

The shooting was within one month of another mass shooting in El Paso in which Patrick Crusius allegedly killed 22 people at Walmart. He was charged with capital murder and federal hate crimes charges after investigators discovered a manifesto decrying “race mixing” and saying the shooting spree was a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Crusius was armed with an AK-style assault rifle that came from Romania.

FBI officials said at the press conference for the Odessa Midland shooting they have not yet determined a motive in the August 31, 2019 shooting, but they do not believe it was connected to domestic terrorism.

When asked by a reporter if it was time to ban assault rifles, Abbott said government officials are exploring all options. He noted that not all mass shooters use AR-style weapons.

“We are going to look at every issue. There is not one issue we won’t look at,” he said at the press conference.

Here’s what you need to know:


Odessa Shooter Used AR-Style Rifle in Mass Shooting, Police Said

The Odessa shooting suspect was armed with an AR-style rifle, Gerke said at a press conference following Texas’ second mass shooting in August.

Police are still working to determine how the suspect acquired the gun. It was not immediately clear whether he purchased the gun legally.

The National Rifle Association said that AR-15s are “America’s Most Popular Rifles.” CNBC reported in 2016 that about 5 million Americans own AR-15s, while NBC reported in 2017 Americans own a total of 15 million AR-15s. Sales of the controversial weapon typically spike following mass shootings.


Ator Bought Weapon Through Private Sale

Ator was a “prohibited person” who was not legally permitted to purchase or possess a gun because of a mental health diagnosis. He bought the gun through a private sale, law enforcement officials told ABC 11.

Ator had also failed a background check, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott confirmed to the news station.

Ator had been fired from Journey Oilfield Services the day of the shooting. Police were called, but Ator had already left, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke told ABC 11.

Ator Had History of Arrests Including 2 Misdemeanors

Texas Department of Public SafetySeth Ator arrest

Court records obtained by Heavy indicated Ator had a history of arrests, including two misdemeanors. He was arrested August 3, 2001 for criminal trespass on August 1, 2001 in Waco, Texas, Mclennan County. The offense was graded as a Class B misdemeanor. He entered a guilty plea in exchange for 24 months probation and a deferred adjudication February 28, 2002.

On the same date, Ator was charged with evading arrest, also a misdemeanor.

Deferred adjudication can be offered to first-time offenders, according to Texas Defense Law. If probation terms are successfully met, a criminal case record can be sealed from public view.


Abbott: Officials Need to Find Solution to Keep Guns From Dangerous People While Protecting 2nd Amendment Rights

Abbott said in a press conference government officials must find a solution for gun control that will keep guns out of the hands of people who would commit a mass shooting like the August 31 tragedy in Odessa and Midland, while still protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens.

“I’m heartbroken by the crying of the people in the state of the Texas. I’m tired of the dying of the people in the state of Texas,” he said.

He stopped short of saying AR-15 assault rifles should be banned. A reporter asked if it was time to ban the controversial gun, a common weapon used in mass shootings.

Abbott responded that not all mass shootings involve assault rifles. AR-15s were not used in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas May 18, 2018, or in Texas’ largest mass shooting in Killeen, Texas October 16, 1991 at Luby’s Cafeteria.

Banning assault rifles is an issue that will be examined, he said.

“We are going to look at every issue. There is not one issue we won’t look at,” he said.


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