The morning of the shooting, Ator had been fired from his job at Journey Oilfield Services. He and his employer called 911 afterward, but he had left the business by the time police arrived.
Ator also called the FBI’s tip line about 15 minutes before the shooting spree began, making “rambling statements about some of the atrocities he felt he had gone through,” according to Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. He did not make any threats, Combs said.
When state troopers tried to stop Ator for failing to signal a lane change on Interstate 20, he fired an assault-style rifle out his vehicle’s rear window, striking one trooper. Ator then drove between Midland and Odessa, firing seemingly at random. At one point he abandoned his vehicle and hijacked a postal truck, killing the worker inside.
Authorities eventually disabled the mail truck by ramming it with an SUV outside an Odessa movie theater. Officers fatally shot him outside the theater after he fired at them.
Relatives of the victims have sued Braziel and a Kentucky gunmaker, seeking more than $1 million in damages.