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Permian Basin

Associated Press

Investigators looking for how a Texas gunman obtained an assault-style rifle used in a Labor Day weekend rampage despite failing a background check have searched the home of a man they believe was involved in the "transfer" of the weapon, a federal law enforcement official said Thursday.

A line of white crosses dotted an empty lot on an otherwise busy road in south Odessa. The memorial went up several days after a shooting rampage killed seven people and wounded about 25 more in Odessa.

Somber groups of visitors trickled in to pay their respects. They quietly left flowers and balloons and wrote words of encouragement on the crosses in permanent marker. 


A memorial for the victims of the mass shooting in West Texas.
Mitch Borden | Marfa Public Radio.

As authorities continue their investigation into Saturday's shooting rampage, stories of the victims of the attack are coming to light. Seven people were killed; 25 were injured. Here are stories about some of Saturday's victims:

Associated Press

The gunman in a West Texas rampage that left seven dead obtained his AR-style rifle through a private sale, allowing him to evade a federal background check that blocked him from getting a gun in 2014 due to a "mental health issue," a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

Update, 6:20 p.m. ET: This story now includes additional language about the types of ammunition Walmart will no longer sell. 

Walmart announced Tuesday that it will discontinue sales of ammunition designed for handguns and military-style rifles such as the AR-15.

The company will also stop allowing customers to openly carry firearms inside its stores, and called on lawmakers to consider passing new gun control legislation.

Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio

The communities of Odessa and Midland are taking their first steps toward healing, after a mass shooting over Labor Day weekend left seven people dead and more than 20 others injured. Donations have been coming in from across the state and nation to help victims and families affected by the shooting.

Christopher Combs with the FBI speaks at a press conference following the mass shooting in West Texas.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

Law enforcement in Texas released more information Monday afternoon about the investigation into this weekend’s mass shooting which killed seven people and injured 23.

At a press conference Sunday in Odessa, Texas, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said that the nation is now averaging an active shooter incident “every other week,” a broad term used by the FBI to describe someone “attempting to kill people in a populated area.

Not all of these incidents escalate to the level of a mass shooting.

The shooter who opened fire after a routine traffic stop Saturday in Texas, killing seven people and injuring 22, was fired just hours before the deadly shooting.

Seth Aaron Ator, 36, who lived in the Odessa area, had been fired from his job at Journey Oilfield Services after a disagreement, according to Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke. The shooting rampage, which appears to have been random, ended when Ator was killed by police.

Associated Press

When law enforcement authorities gathered to discuss details of a mass shooting in West Texas that left seven people dead, there was one bit of information they refused to provide on live television: the name of the gunman.

Associated Press

The death toll from a mass shooting in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa has risen from five to seven, according to Odessa Mayor David Turner.

After West Texas Shooting, Texas House Rep. Says 'NO' To Gun Restrictions

Sep 1, 2019
Emree Weaver / The Texas Tribune

After the state's second mass shooting in a month left eight people dead — including the shooter — and 19 injured in West Texas, an East Texas lawmaker took to Twitter to adamantly assert that he would not support any new gun restrictions.

From Texas Standard.

Out in the sand dunes of west Texas, a tiny lizard has been wrapped up in a big controversy for years. The four-inch long dunes sagebrush lizard calls the middle of the Permian Basin home, but conservationists have long feared the oil boom there would be detrimental to the lizard’s rare habitat. But in the past year, a new threat has emerged.

From Texas Standard.

Does the Wink Sink ring any bells for you? It is, as the name implies, a pair of giant sinkholes near the town of Wink, located about 60 miles west of Odessa. One of the reasons why they’re remarkable is that they’re unique, though that may not always be the case.