Law Officers ID the Odessa Shooter, Talk About Motive

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke refused to publicly say the name
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2019 2:40 PM CDT
Law Officers Talk About Odessa, ID the Shooter
Law enforcement officials investigate Saturday's shooting at a shopping center Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Authorities said Sunday they still could not explain why a man with an AR-style weapon opened fire during a routine traffic stop in West Texas to begin a terrifying rampage that killed seven people, injured 22 others, and ended with officers gunning him down outside a movie theater, the AP reports. Two law enforcement officials identified the shooter as Seth Ator, who records show is 36 years old. The officials spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke had refused to publicly say the name of the gunman during a national televised news conference Sunday, saying he did not want to give the shooter notoriety. He had previously described the gunman as a white male in his 30s, and authorities told reporters that the shooter had a criminal record but did not go into detail.

The gunman acted alone and federal investigators believe the shooter had no ties to any domestic or international terrorism group, FBI special agent Christopher Combs said. Authorities said those killed were between the ages of 15 and 57 years old but did not immediately provide a list of names. The injured included three law enforcement officers. Gerke said there were still no answers as to the shooter's motives. The shooting began Saturday afternoon with an interstate traffic stop where gunfire was exchanged with police, setting off a chaotic rampage during which the suspect hijacked a mail carrier truck and fired at random as he drove in the area of Odessa and Midland, two cities in the heart of Texas oil country more than 300 miles west of Dallas. (Read about a 17-month-old girl wounded in the attack.)

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