Over Labor Day weekend, Texas experienced its second mass shooting in the month of August as a 36-year-old man named Seth Ator went on a shooting spree from Midland to Odessa Texas.
Among the 22 injured, the gunman took the lives of 7 innocent victims ranging in ages from 15-57. The names of the victims have been released and we wish to honor them today.
Joseph was a teacher, husband, and father than worked six days a week to support his family. His sister, Carla Byrne said the family was “broken” upon watching Joe get shot and killed. The family was on their way to have their portrait taken when Ator stopped beside them at a red light and shot Joe.
Byrne said that her brother was a passionate math teacher that loved his students. She can’t believe someone would do such a thing. “This maniac pulled up next to him and shot him, took away his life, murdered my baby brother,” she said.
Rodolfo had just moved to Odessa, Texas from Las Vegas after the mass shooting at a country music concert. His sister, Maria Arco said, “He felt that Odessa was the place to go. He sold everything in Vegas and moved there, in the hopes that things would be safer for him and the family.”
Rudy, who owns his own trucking company, was driving along the highway when shots were fired. Two of the bullets hit the cab and the third one pierced the window and killed him instantly.
Mary was a mail carrier for the United States Post Office. She was at the end of her shift on Saturday talking with her twin sister, Rosie, on the phone. All of a sudden, Rosie hears her sister scream on the other end of the phone as she was shot and killed.
Rosie recalls the horror of that phone call: “It was very painful. I just wanted to help her and I couldn’t. I thought she had got bit by a dog or something. I tried calling her name and she wouldn’t answer.”
Kameron spent time defending the lives of others in Afghanistan as a United States Army soldier. He was an employee of Standard Safety & Supply, a first-aid and fire protection service company when he was shot and killed Saturday.
The company posted a message on Facebook shortly after the incident: “We are deeply saddened to confirm that a member of our team died tragically as a victim of the senseless and horrifying shootings that occurred in and around Odessa on Saturday.”
Leilah was the youngest of the 7 victims killed during Saturday’s mass shooting. She was accompanying her older brother Nathan to pick up a truck that he had saved up for. As they both walked out of the dealership, Ator opened fire on the siblings killing Leilah and injuring Nathan as the older brother tried to protect his sister.
The family had just celebrated Leilah’s quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday within the Latino community. Hernandez’s grandmother, Nora Leyva remembers how happy her granddaughter was saying, “It was like a dream for her.”
Raul was shot and killed by Ator along I-20 as the gunman avoided a traffic stop. His wife, Perla said that he was “on his way to be home with his kids” after spending time on the road driving a truck. After the incident, Perla relayed her son’s comments about Raul to reporters saying, “Mom, now he’ll be a truck driver in heaven.”
Edwin, who had just recently moved out of his parents’ home in Odessa, was visiting his parents over the weekend. Upon hearing the gunshots, he stepped outside to investigate when he was shot and killed immediately.
Edwin’s sister, Eritizi told reporters that her brother had just moved to San Antonio to start a new job and start his own family. She said she could count on her brother for anything. Eritizi’s husband was shot as well but was only injured.