ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) – On August 31, 2019, area police agencies responded to the Midland / Odessa area in response to emergency calls while a then-unknown gunman was driving through the two communities shooting to innocent people. In about an hour, seven people were killed, three police officers were shot and injured, at least 21 were injured and one suspect was killed.
Now, the Texas Rangers have released the final report on the shooting investigation. The report sheds new light on previously scattered and confusing reports on the shooter’s path.
The original call to the police
Around 1:27 p.m. that August day, officers from the Odessa police department responded to a disturbing call at Journey Oilfield, located at 2200 E Murphy Street. Company employees told OPD that a newly fired employee had refused to hand over the company’s assets after he was fired. This employee was identified as Seth Aaron Ator. Employees told police Ator drove his vehicle through a chain link fence and left the property before police arrived. After answering the deal, police phoned Ator, where he talked about paranoid delusions and conspiracy theories focused on child pornography and online identity theft.
According to the report, at the time, Ator did not state that he planned to shoot anyone. Shortly after talking to police, Ator tried to contact his employer by phone, who blocked that call.
Moments later, the emergency dispatch began receiving calls because a man driving a car that matched Ator’s was recklessly driving on West Loop 338. Callers told 911 operators the man was displaying a rifle. .
Police remained at Journey Oilfield in case Ator returned to the business.
At about 3:17 p.m., about 13.5 miles from Journey Oilfield, two Texas state toppers began a traffic stop with Ator in Midland County, near Interstate 20 and West Loop 250. The soldiers were unaware of the initial call for riots. Cash tried to drag Ator out for no signals, the report says. When Ator entered the westbound lanes of the HH-20 using the westbound exit ramp west of Loop 250, Ator fired several shots from a rifle through the rear window of his car and on the front windshield of the patrol car marked. Private Charles Pryor was shot in the face and seriously injured. Private Melina Justiss returned to the fire and attacked Ator’s car. The troops were unable to chase the vehicle as Ator drove away due to the serious injuries suffered by Pryor.
The report goes on to say that Ator drove west on I-20, Ator called 911 on several occasions communicating with 911 operators while driving alongside drivers and shooting from the sides of his vehicles.
The following victims were on I-20 at the time they were shot: Raul Garcia, Rodolfo Julio Arco, Brad Wayne Grimsley, Marco Corral, Efe Obayagbona, Fatai Quadri, Timothy Hardaway, Joseph Glide and Daniel Munoz. Both Garcia and Arco died after their injuries.
Later, 911 operators told investigators that Ator teased them over the phone about what he was doing while shooting at those driving near him.
After Ator entered the city limits of Odessa, he turned north on East Loop 338. At that time, Ator ended his calls with 911. At Loop 338, Ator shot Anthony Gonzalez and Glenda Dempsey. .
Ator then crossed under National Highway 191 and became a commercial parking lot. When Ator entered the 191 N service road from the parking lot, he shot Marian Encinosa Boado. Ator then drove north on E Loop 338, and then turned the loop, just north of TX-191. Ator then drove west in 191 and entered a commercial parking lot where he shot and killed Leilah Hernandez and injured her brother Nathan.
Ator then entered Preston Smith Road and turned west in 191 where he shot Krystal Lee, Coltyn Reyenga, Robert Cavazos, and Anderson Lee Davis. Ator then turned south on JBS Parkway from 191, where he shot Lilia Davis, Larry Shores and Timothy Beard.
Ator went to a residential neighborhood where the shooting resumed.
While driving on E 38th Street on Dixie Boulevard, Ator shot Wanda Silvas. He then stopped driving his car south on Adams Street, where he stopped next to Mary Granados, where she was temporarily parked in her USPS van. While parked, Ator shot at a passing motorist and then grabbed Granados from his van and shot him in the head. The report says Ator shot the USPS worker twice before leaving her in her vehicle.
He then drove to Walnut Avenue and East 38th Street, where he fired at Edwin Peregrino and Jesus Rogelio Alvidrez before leaving the area in the USPS van. Peregrino died at the scene, according to previous reports.
Filming is coming to an end
For several minutes, Ator drove the stolen van through parts of western and northern Odessa without firing at anyone, according to the report. He eventually drove north on Yukon Road, where he shot and killed Kameron Brown, who was stopped at a red light on Yukon and Grandview Avenue. Ator then turned south on Faudree Road, where he shot and killed Joe Griffith who was stopped at a traffic light. Griffith was sitting in his car with his family when he was shot.
Ator then turned onto TX-191’s S Service Road, where he shot Coy Edge.
Ator then went to the area near the Cinergy Theater in 191. The theater had just been evacuated by law enforcement. As Ator approached the theater, he drove through the parking lot of the Medical Center’s ProCare building from 191, where he exchanged shots with Midland police officer Zahary Owens. Owens, who was driving his patrol car in the parking lot from Dr. Street. Emmitt Headlee, was seriously injured. Ator then fired at OPD officer James Santana, who was driving his patrol car just behind Owens.
Ator then turned east toward Headlee Street, where he was pursued by law enforcement.
Private Justin Basso fired several rifles through the windshield of his own patrol car in the back of the van. Police say Ator then began driving “aggressively” toward a police cut that protected the evacuees from the theater.
OPD officer Kaaiko Vavao and MPD officer Addisson Prater used their patrol cars to create a roadblock in front of Ator. The report says that when Ator closed his positions, officers employed two different tactics to counter the assault. Vavao fired several rifle shots at the windshield of the USPS van while Prater lined up his patrol vehicle to attack and deflect Ator’s vehicle before he could strike all force at Vavao’s unit.
After Ator was killed, police secured the area.
In the middle of the chaos
“This unprecedented act of random mobile violence created a huge challenge for police officers and emergency medical officers as they tried to locate, contain and stop the violence, while dealing with the dead, the dying, the wounded, the The large number of 911 calls, understandably, overwhelmed 911 communications operators with information about multiple locations, descriptions of multiple and very different suspects, and descriptions of suspicious vehicles. Social media posts and personal communications flooded the area with unconfirmed and unconfirmed rumors of violence in various places in Odessa and Midland that were never targets of violence.Police officers had to respond to these allegations. places of active violence in places such as department stores, shopping malls, etc. that Ator had acted alone.Emergency services went out of work ar violence in locating and treating the wounded and identifying and protecting crime scenes. Throughout the night, priority was given to medical treatment and containment of the scene, as emergency resources and personnel were directed to the area from all over Texas and the United States, ”the report concludes.
You can see a digital map of events here.
At the time of his death, police said Ator was armed with a .223-caliber semi-automatic rifle and had about 58 cartridges left uncut.
An autopsy revealed that the shooter was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his party.
Investigation into the shooter’s past revealed multiple interventions with law enforcement. Some of these events led to mental health assessments and forced engagements for periods of up to 90 days.