Texas Shooter Called Police, FBI Tip Line 15 Minutes Before Attack Began

Posted: Sep 03, 2019 8:00 AM

The man who went on a shooting rampage in Odessa and Midland, Texas, on Saturday, called the FBI national tip line and local police roughly 15 minutes before his attack. 

FBI special agent Christopher Combs said the shooter was making “rambling statements about some of the atrocities that he felt that he had gone through.”

He had been fired from Journey Oilfield Services earlier in the day.

“He was on a long spiral of going down,” Combs said. “He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk into his company and then it happened. He went to that company in trouble.”

Fifteen minutes after the call to the FBI, Combs said, a Texas state trooper unaware of the calls to authorities tried pulling over Ator for failing to signal a lane change. That was when Ator pointed an AR-style rifle toward the rear window of his car and fired on the trooper, starting a terrifying police chase as Ator sprayed bullets into passing cars, shopping plazas and killed a U.S. Postal Service employee while hijacking her mail truck.

Combs said Ator “showed up to work enraged” but did not point to any specific source of his anger. Ator’s home on the outskirts of Odessa was a corrugated metal shack along a dirt road surrounded by trailers, mobile homes and oil pump jacks. On Monday, a green car without a rear windshield was parked out front, the entire residence cordoned off by police tape.

Combs described it as a “strange residence” that reflected “what his mental state was going into this.” Combs said he did not know whether Ator had been diagnosed with any prior mental health problems. (AP)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the shooter had failed a background check to purchase a gun in the past and did not get a background check done for the firearm he used in the attack. 

"We must keep guns out of criminals’ hands," he said.