ODESSA, Texas –
The gunman who killed seven people and left 25 others injured on Saturday was fired from his job that morning and was "on a long spiral down."
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke said at Monday news conference Seth Aaron Ator, 36, and his employer at Journey Oilfield Services both called 911 Saturday to complain about the other over the firing.
The shooter made a "rambling statement," but no threats were made.
“Can’t speak to his motives or why he called,” Gerke said, noting such calls to police are routine.
Ator left the business before officers arrived and then called the FBI's tipline. In that call he also made no threats of violence, Gerke noted.
The Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who pulled him over for a routraffic stop was unaware of the morning incidents that preceded the shooting spree.
FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said the shooter's home was "a very strange residence" that reflected his mental state.
“He was on a long spiral of going down," Combs said, after a search of the property west of Odessa. "He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and go into his company and then it happened. He went to that company in trouble and had probably been in trouble for a while.”
Gerke said it was unknown how he came to have the firearm. Federal and state agencies were “aggressively investigating” how he acquired it.
Online court records show he was arrested in 2001 for a misdemeanor offense that would not have prevented him from legally purchasing firearms in Texas, although authorities have not said where he got the "AR style" weapon he used.
The shooting began with a routine traffic stop for failing to signal. The gunman opened fire on a pair of troopers through the rear-view window, wounding one. He then took off in a gold-colored car, shooting randomly for more than 10 miles, firing at motorists and pedestrians before hijacking a U.S. Postal Service truck.
The shooter was killed after being chased by officers from neighboring cities Midland and Odessa. Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. The gunman then fired at police, wounding two officers before he was killed.
"Local law enforcement and state troopers pursued him and stopped him from possibly going into a crowded movie theater and having another event of mass violence," Agent Combs said.
He was later identified in a Facebook post by the Odessa Police Department. Police say investigators were still searching for motives for the shooting.
Madison Tate, spokeswoman for the Odessa Regional Medical Center, which initially received six shooting victims, said Monday afternoon that two people remain hospitalized “and are showing signs of improvement.” Four were discharged Saturday.
One victim remains in critical condition, Tate said, but is stable and showing signs of improvement. Tate said the other victim has improved and is no longer in intensive care.
Hundreds of people gathered at Odessa’s University of Texas-Permian Basin in the Permian on Sunday evening for a prayer vigil.
“We are devastated by this idiot who hurt our communities,” Midland Mayor Jerry Morales said at the vigil. “But we are one, we are strong together. This idiot will not break our faith.”
Here's what we know now: 7 dead, 22 injured in Odessa, Texas, shooting
The shooting came at the end of an already violent month in Texas; on Aug. 3, a gunman in the border city of El Paso killed 22 people at a Walmart. Sitting beside authorities in Odessa, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ticked off a list of mass shootings that have now killed nearly 70 people since 2016 in his state alone.
"I have been to too many of these events," Abbott said. "Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable, and action is needed."
Abbott, a Republican, was noncommittal about imposing any new gun laws in Texas at a time when Democrats and gun-control groups are demanding restrictions. And even as Abbott spoke, a number of looser gun laws he signed this year took effect on the first day of September, including one that would arm more teachers in Texas schools.
Adrianna Rodriguez reported from McLean, VA. Contributing: Molly Duerig and Perry Vandell, Arizona Republic; The Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas shooting: Police unsure of motive for Midland-Odessa rampage