Texas mass shooting gunman known to police
Houston, September 2
The gunman who opened fire in the US state of Texas, killing 7 people and injuring several others, has been identified as a 36-year-old white man, who was known to the authorities.
The shooting — the 38th mass killing by firearms in the US this year — occurred on Saturday in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa.
“The shooter has been identified as a 36-year-old local man named Seth Aaron Ator,” police said.
Ator opened fire around 3 pm (local time) after he was pulled over by traffic officials.
He shot at the trooper who stopped him and began shooting people at random, local media quoted Chief Michael Gerke of the Odessa Police Department as saying.
The driver then began shooting at other people in several other locations. At one point, he abandoned his car and stole a postal truck before continuing his spree.
He was shot dead by police at a cinema complex.
“As federal agents join the investigation into why this mass shooting happened, we have learned more about the gunman,” the authorities said.
The 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. He used an assault rifle style weapon during the 10-mile long shooting spree,” authorities said.
Online court records showed that Ator faced arrest in 2001 for a misdemeanour offence 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 reported.
The authorities said the death toll is now seven.
Steve LeSueur, the Odessa police spokesman, said that at least one person remains in “life-threatening” condition”.
US President Donald Trump appreciated the law enforcement responders for handing the situation well.
“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!,” Trump tweeted. — PTI