Texas governor: Odessa shooting suspect previously failed gun background check

Texas Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottVicente Gonzalez to run in different Texas district after Abbott signs new map Abbott signs sports bill targeting transgender students in Texas Abbott signs new Texas congressional maps into law MORE (R) said Monday that the suspected gunman who killed at least seven people and injured 22 others in a shooting over the weekend had failed a gun background check.

“Not only did the gunman have a criminal history ... he also previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas,” Abbott tweeted, “& he didn’t go thru a background check for the gun he used in Odessa. We must keep guns out of criminals’ hands.”

It is unclear how the gunman, identified Sunday as 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator, obtained the military-style rifle he used when he opened fire on Saturday, fatally shooting a trooper, two police officers and four others.

Ator was arrested for evading arrest and criminal trespass in 2001 and received a form of probation after pleading guilty to both misdemeanor charges, the Austin American-Statesman reports. There were no open warrants for his arrest.


He had been fired from his trucking job hours before the mass shooting, and he reportedly got into a verbal altercation with his boss at an oilfield services company, with both men calling 911 to report the incident, the Texas Tribune reports. The gunman also reportedly called the FBI's tip line.

Despite the reports, police say a motive is not yet known for the shooting.

Ator led officials on a high-speed chase, during which he indiscriminately fired at motorists and police officers before being killed by officers, authorities say.

The shooting came weeks after another gunman opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, killing 22 people and injuring dozens of others.