The 36-year-old man who fatally shot seven people and wounded 22 others in Odessa, Texas, on Saturday reportedly purchased his weapon in a private person-to-person sale, which does not require a background check in the state.
The shooter, Seth Aaron Ator, was federally barred from possessing a firearm, ABC News reported on Tuesday.
But in Texas, person-to-person private sales do not require gun owners to conduct background checks or ask the buyer if they can legally possess a firearm, according to the news outlet.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had earlier stated that Ator had failed a background check for a previous gun purchase and did not undergo one for the weapon used in the shooting. Authorities had said he had been flagged as a “prohibited person” legally prohibited from owning or buying a firearm.
— Matt Gutman (@mattgutmanABC) September 3, 2019
The Hill reports:
Ator, who was killed by police outside an Odessa movie theater, was reportedly arrested in 2001 for a misdemeanor offense that would not have precluded him from buying a gun.
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said Ator was fired from Journey Oilfield Services on Saturday and that both Ator and the company called 911 shortly after the firing but that Ator had left by the time police arrived. FBI special agent Christopher Combs said Ator made a “rambling” statement to authorities over the phone.
The shooting spree began after two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers pulled him over for a traffic violation and he shot and wounded one of the troopers.
He then began driving around Midland and Odessa, randomly firing at people with a rifle. After ditching his car, Ator fatally shot a 29-year-old U.S. Postal Service letter carrier and continued shooting people from the postal van.