TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Governor Greg Abbott has directed that all flags in the City of Odessa are lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims of the Midland/Odessa shootings one year ago today.
He tweeted: “One year ago, darkness fell over Midland-Odessa when a gunman killed 7 innocent Texans and injured 25 others. Our hearts remain with the victims and their families. We are resolute in our efforts to stop mass attacks in Texas. Together, we will build a safe future for every Texan.”
One year ago, darkness fell over Midland-Odessa when a gunman killed 7 innocent Texans & injured 25 others.
Our hearts remain with the victims & their families.
We are resolute in our efforts to stop mass attacks in Texas. Together, we will build a safer future for every Texan.
— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) August 31, 2020
Authorities said Seth Aaron Ator, 36, opened fire with an assault rifle after a routine traffic stop. Once the shootings, in two separate cities, were over — seven people were dead including a man slain outside his parents’ home and a teenager fatally shot.
Authorities said those killed were between 15 and 57 years old. Family and employers, however, said that among the dead were Edwin Peregrino, 25, who ran out of his parents’ home to see what the commotion was; mail carrier Mary Granados, 29, slain in her U.S. Postal Service truck; and 15-year-old high school student Leilah Hernandez, who was walking out of an auto dealership.
Ator also injured 22 people Saturday before officers killed him outside a busy movie theater in Odessa.
He had a misdemeanor on his record and no warrants out for his arrest. Online court records show he 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 the “AR style” weapon he used.
The New York Times and Washington Post reported that Ator lost his job on the day of the attack, citing unnamed officials.
Police said Ator’s arrest in 2001 was in the county where Waco is located, hundreds of miles east of Odessa. Online court records show he was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and evading arrest. He entered guilty pleas in a deferred prosecution agreement where the charge was waived after he served 24 months of probation, according to records.
The shooting came at the end of an already violent month in 2019 in Texas, where on Aug. 3 a gunman in the border city of El Paso killed 22 people at a Walmart.