Man sacked from his job hours before gun killings
The man who killed seven people and wounded 22 others in a rolling rampage across West Texas on Saturday was fired from his trucking job hours before the massacre, media and officials reported.
Police continued to comb through 15 different crime scenes in neighbouring Midland and Odessa yesterday.
The gunman, identified by police as Seth Aaron Ator (36), had been fired from his truck-driving job in Odessa on Saturday morning, various media reported.
Hours later, Ator was pulled over in Midland by Texas state troopers on Interstate 20 for failing to use a turn signal, police said.
Armed with an AR-type rifle, Ator fired out the back window of his vehicle, injuring one trooper. Then he drove away spraying gunfire indiscriminately, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
At one point, Ator abandoned his vehicle and hijacked a US postal van and mortally wounded the postal carrier, Mary Grandos (29).
Ator was later cornered by officers in the parking lot of a cinema complex in Odessa. He was shot and killed.
"There are no definitive answers as to motive or reasons at this point, but we are fairly certain that the subject did act alone," Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said.
Online court records showed Ator had convictions in 2002 for criminal trespass and evading arrest. The 'Midland Reporter-Telegram' newspaper quoted a state lawmaker, Rep Tom Craddick, as saying he had previously failed a background check.
Mr Gerke offered his condolences to the families of the dead and wounded. "My heart aches for them all," he said.
Among the dead was Ms Grandos, who various news media reported was at the end of her shift and on the telephone with her twin sister Rosie Grandos.
"She didn't deserve this," a tearful Rosie told CNN. "I was talking to her on the phone and she said she heard gunshots but didn't know where they were coming from. I heard her screaming. I was hearing her cry for help."
The 'Washington Post' reported that others among the dead were Edwin Peregrino (25), who was killed outside of the home he moved into a few weeks ago.
Also killed was Leilah Hernandez (15), who had just celebrated a coming of age party.
Joseph Griffith (40) was killed as he waited at a traffic light with his wife and two children.
Among the wounded was a 17-month-old girl, Anderson Davis, who was shot in the face, according to officials.
In numerous media interviews, her family said that the child underwent surgery and will recover.
Three police officers were shot and wounded and were in stable condition.
It was the second mass shooting in Texas in four weeks. On August 3, a gunman from the Dallas area killed 22 people in another Saturday shooting at a Walmart store about 410km west of Midland in the city of El Paso.