A gunman killed seven people and injured 22 others on Saturday in the city of Odessa in western Texas. The injured included a 17-month-old girl. Police have identified the gunman as 36-year-old Seth Ator and say he went on the rampage just hours after he was fired from his trucking job. Police say the massacre began after an officer pulled Ator over for failing to use a turn signal. He then reportedly opened fire using an AR-15-style weapon before speeding away. Soon after, he began shooting randomly at residents and motorists, at one point ditching his car to hijack a postal truck. He died in a shootout with police outside a movie theater in Odessa. A neighbor of the alleged gunman told CNN that she reported him to police just last month after he threatened her with a rifle. But police apparently never visited Ator’s house because they couldn’t find the property on GPS maps.
The shooting came less than a month after 22 people were shot dead in a Walmart in El Paso. Less than one day after the Odessa mass shooting, a series of new laws weakening firearm regulations went into effect in Texas. Among other things, the new bills will make it easier to carry guns at schools, places of worship and in disaster zones. The NRA hailed the bills, calling the latest legislative session “highly successful.” Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has repeatedly backed measures expanding gun ownership. In 2015, he tweeted, “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans. @NRA.” Following the shooting, a slew of Democratic lawmakers, including 2020 candidates and congressional leaders, called again for legislative action on gun control. We’ll have more on this story after headlines.