While people gathered at a Sunday night vigil honoring the victims of the West Texas mass shooting, Odessa Mayor David Turner praised authorities for ramming into the hijacked mail truck the shooter was drivingand putting an end to his killing spree.
A total of seven people were killed and 22 others were wounded when 36-year-old Seth Ator began randomly spraying the roads with bullets after getting pulled over for failing to use his signal, police said.
“The reason that person was stopped was because of a Midland police officer and an Odessa police officer. They rammed his car, stopped him and when he got out, they shot him,” he said.
Moving forward will be difficult, Turner said “but with strength and a ‘whatever-it-takes’ spirit we will show this community, our state and our nation, what it means to be West Texans.”
The shooter had been fired from his trucking job hours before he began his killing rampage, the New York Times reported. They cited interviews with officials. Authorities say they believe he acted alone but have not yet determined a motive.
The shooter was pulled over by Texas troopers in Midland Saturday afternoon for failing to use his signal, police said. He began shooting at them with what police described as an AR-type weapon and sped away. He continued firing randomly at residents and motorists, police said.
He then took a postal truck and made his way into Odessa, about 20 miles away. That’s where police confronted him in a parking lot and killed him.
The gunman was slammed by a police vehicle and set spinning into a group of cars, where he was soon encircled by authorities, according to bystander video and Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf.
“Law enforcement at that point had collectively taken efforts to surround him, and he was not going to go anywhere, and he was not going to hurt anybody else,” Nodolf said. “That is the definition of heroism, when you have people you know are walking into fire and could be hit, and they were.”
Sunday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott commented on the frequency of high-profile shootings in his state since he took office.
“I have been to too many of these events,” Abbott said.
“I am heartbroken by the crying of the people in the state of Texas. I am tired of the dying of the people of Texas. Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable, and action is needed,” he said.