Texas mass shooter had record of criminal trespass and evading arrest

By Charles Parks, Editor | September 2, 2019

Details are beginning to emerge about the gunman who killed seven and injured at least 19 others during a shooting rampage in Odessa and Midland, Texas on Saturday. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Seth Ator, had a criminal record dating back to his teenage years. In 2002, Ator pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and evading arrest, both misdemeanors in Texas. He avoided jail time but received two years of probation according to public records, which indicate the crimes took place in McLennan County. Adjudication was deferred in the case, which can be granted to first-time offenders and allows a conviction to be kept off of one’s record.

He also got a traffic citation in 2018 for a federal motor carrier safety violation while in Ector County, the same county in which Odessa is located. According to ABC 25, Ator was from Lorena, Texas, a small city of about 1,500 people located in the Waco metropolitan area in the central-eastern part of the state. People who knew Ator said that he graduated from Lorena High School in 2001, a school that currently enrolls about 570 students. People in the area said they had lost touch with the Ator family over the past five years.

Ator’s parents divorced in 1987, and his mother and father now live in Amarillo and San Antonio respectively, according to Heavy. He reportedly has one sister, and his family has long roots in Texas. An FBI response team was seen conducting a search warrant at Ator’s Odessa home Sunday afternoon. Property records show that he bought a lot in Ector County in 2018 that has an assessed market value of $9,260. Furthermore, Ator had a Toyota Tercel, which were produced between 1978 and 1999, registered to his name.

Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said Sunday the investigation into the shooting was still active and ongoing. He noted no motive for the crime has been determined. “There are still multiple crime scenes that are being worked. There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point. But we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone,” Gerke said. At the outset of Saturday’s shooting, it was believed there were two suspects. However, authorities have since said there was only one gunman, who changed vehicles before being killed during a shootout with police in a movie theater parking lot. Although authorities declined to name him publicly at a Sunday press conference, word that Ator was the shooter was soon released.