• September 23, 2019

AP: Gunman had history of violence - Odessa American: Law Enforcement

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AP: Gunman had history of violence

Questions remain about Odessa’s mass shooting

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Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 5:15 pm

While some details about gunman Seth Ator’s past are coming to light — few questions are being answered about the Odessa tragedy.

Waco Assistant Chief Robert Lanning said Wednesday that Ator was being treated in July 2001 at an in-patient facility in the city, the Associated Press reported.

Lanning reportedly said Ator tore down the ceiling in his room, broke a chair, punched a hole in a wall and was so threatening some staff locked themselves in a nursing station.

Ator was later locked in a “seclusion room,” the Associated Press reported. Lanning said when security went into the room Ator approached them holding a piece of pipe he’d pried from the toilet, and they pepper sprayed him. Lanning said his statements were based on a police report from the incident.

A hospital staff member also reportedly stated that Ator had “suicidal tendencies” after he was arrested and charged in 2001 for with trying to break into a woman’s bedroom after threatening to kill her brother. Ator jumped from a second-floor window to avoid authorizes the day after the attempted break-in.

Additional information about Ator’s shooting spree on Aug. 31 and many of the events that followed have gone unanswered.

Public information officers for the Texas Department of Public Safety and Odessa Police Department directed various questions the Odessa American has about Ator to Freedom of Information requests.

Many questions remain about what items were found inside Ator’s residence and the vehicles he operated during the shooting spree. There are also various questions about Ator’s past.

FOI’s have been sent to DPS, OPD, ATF and FBI and Ector County Sheriff’s Office about Ator. The OA sent a FOI request to DPS on Sept. 1, which hadn’t responded to as of Wednesday afternoon.

When OA asked about what was found inside Ator’s residence in West Odessa, multiple FBI agents didn’t disclose if additional firearms were found. Neither FBI agent spoke specifically about Ator’s living conditions at the West Odessa property.

FBI Assistant Special Agent Daniel Ramos said during a phone interview last week that Ator didn’t have regular amenities. Ramos also explained “it didn’t fit our typical description of what a house would be.”

Ator conducted a shooting spree that shocked Odessans that started when he was pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Chuck Pryor for a minor traffic infraction. That occurred just after Ator was fired from his job and after both he and his employer called 911.

Ator also called the FBI tip line and rambled saying that people had committed “atrocities” against him. FBI and OPD officials have said he did not make any threats during either call. He shot Pryor and then drove around Odessa randomly shooting at people, eventually killing postal worker Mary Granados and carjacking her postal mini-van. He drove the van and continued his shooting spree until he was confronted by multiple law enforcement officers near Odessa’s Cinergy Theatre.

On Tuesday, the final two patients remaining at the three major hospitals in the Midland-Odessa area were released about a week and a half after the shooting spree.

There was one patient from Midland Memorial Hospital and one from Odessa Regional Medical Center released on Tuesday.

ORMC director of marketing and community relations Madison Tate said over the phone two of the six patients that were brought to the hospital on Aug. 31 had been shot in the chest. The other four patients were injured with shrapnel and were treated and released the same day.

“The patients with gunshot wounds to the chest is going to be a different recovery time than shrapnel fresh wound,” Tate said “The two critical care patients took a little bit longer and those were the final two that were released — one on Saturday and one on Tuesday morning.”

Meanwhile questions about a raid on a Lubbock man’s home last week also remain unanswered.  Both the ATF and FBI raided a home near the Lubbock Country club. Last week the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported it was in connection to the manufacture and sale of the AR-15 used in the Odessa shootings. No one was arrested.

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