As The Inquistr reported on Saturday, Seth Ator — the mass shooter who allegedly killed seven people and wounded 22 others in a rampage using an assault-style rifle on August 31 — reportedly failed a legally required background check when he attempted to purchase the gun, but was somehow able to obtain the deadly weapon anyway. Now, three days later, details of why Ator flunked that background check and how he was able to use a loophole in gun regulation laws to buy the deadly weapon are starting to come into focus.
In January of 2014, Ator attempted to purchase an assault weapon but was denied due to “mental health issues” that turned up during the mandatory background check, according to details first revealed on Tuesday by the Associated Press. A “law enforcement source” told AP about the reason why Ator, 36, failed the check on the condition of anonymity, as police in an official statement said that they were barred from disclosing the causes for a background check failure.
Per the source, Ator was not deterred by his failure to get his hands on the assault weapon. Instead, he took advantage of a loophole in gun control regulations that allows “private sales” of firearms with no background checks required, according to the AP report.
#OdessaMassShooting Police in Odessa identified the gunman in Saturday's shooting rampage as 36-year-old Seth Ator. News 10 obtained Ator's 2001 yearbook photo from Lorena High School in #CentralTexas. pic.twitter.com/caOX392EMk
— KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) September 1, 2019
But even after obtaining the rifle, police did nothing even as Ator, according to witness reports, proved himself a threat to commit violence. As the New York Post reported, a neighbor in Texas reported Ator to police just last month, after he threatened her with a rifle. But Ator’s residence, a shack with no heat or running water, also lacked a listed address and did not show up on global positioning systems, so the cops just gave up when they could not locate the suspect’s home.
The woman also said that Ator made a practice of sitting on the roof of his ramshackle house at night, shooting animals with a rifle. As an AlterNet report noted, scientific research has established a clear link between acts of animal cruelty and later acts of violence against human beings. Animal abusers, according to the research cited by AlterNet, “are five times as likely to also harm other humans.”
Ator’s mental health was “on a long spiral down,” FBI special agent Christopher Combs said, as quoted by CBS News, adding that the “strange” condition of Ator’s residence appeared to be a reflection of his mental state.
A neighbor said West Texas mass shooter Seth Ator was "a violent, aggressive person" that would shoot at animals, mostly rabbits, at all hours of the night. https://t.co/fXkixm067o pic.twitter.com/HPUYPLtvYi
— CBSDFW (@CBSDFW) September 3, 2019
Ator was fired from his job with an oil services company on the same day that he later went on his shooting rampage, and had actually called the FBI “tip line” after he was fired, ranting in the call about “some of the atrocities that he felt that he had gone through,” according to Combs. The firing was not sudden, the FBI agent said, explaining that Ator had been “in trouble” for some time.
Just 15 minutes after he placed his bizarre call to the FBI, Ator opened fire on a state trooper who pulled him over for a traffic stop after the suspect allegedly made a lane change without signaling. That incident marked the start of his rampage, which ended when police pursued Ator into a multiplex movie theater parking lot in Odessa, where officers fatally wounded him in a brief shootout, as The Inquisitr reported.