Seth Ator has been identified as the suspect who opened fire in a series of locations across Odessa, Texas, in a random attack that left seven people dead.
Police in Odessa had initially said they would not release the suspect’s identify, but it was published by the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets shortly after a press conference on Sunday. The suspect was initially described by police as a white man in his mid-30s, and several news outlets on Sunday identified Ator as a 36-year-old.
There is still no clear motive for the attack, which police said started when the man identified as Seth Ator was pulled over for a minor traffic violation and opened fire. He then fired randomly from his vehicle, shooting people at as many as 13 different sites across Odessa and neighboring Midland. Police said the suspect left his vehicle and stole a mail truck, and the incident came to an end when police killed Ator in a shootout outside of a movie theater complex.
At a press conference on Sunday, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said the department would not be releasing the name of the suspect publicly, saying they did not want to give the deceased man “notoriety.” But less than an hour later, multiple news outlets reported that police sources identified Seth Ator. CBS News noted that he was believed to have been an Odessa resident.
As CBS News reported, details of the shooting were still emerging nearly a day later and the death toll continued to rise.
“An FBI spokesperson told CBS News early Sunday morning that six people were killed, not including the suspect, and 24 were wounded in total,” the report noted. “An Odessa city official later confirmed another victim had died overnight in a hospital. Five of the victims were killed in Odessa and two in neighboring Midland.”
The gunman who killed seven people as he drove between Odessa and Midland, Texas, Saturday was identified as 36-year-old Seth Ator https://t.co/ZMocn4tes4— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 1, 2019
There are still many unanswered questions about the Odessa mass shooting. Police have not revealed any information about a potential motive, or how Ator obtained the weapon used, which was reported to be an AR-15. Some earlier reports indicated that the suspect may have had a criminal record, which could have prevented him from legally owning a firearm.
Saturday’s mass shooting in Odessa came exactly four weeks after another in Texas, with a man opening fire outside a Walmart shopping center in El Paso in an attack that left 22 people dead. Police investigated the El Paso shooting as a potential hate crime targeting Hispanics.
Police in Odessa have not yet officially confirmed Seth Ator as the name of the suspect in Saturday’s shooting.