West Texas gunman found to have ‘suicidal tendencies’ after arrest here

Law enforcement officials process the crime scene Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas, from Saturday's shooting which ended with the alleged shooter being shot dead by police in a stolen mail van, right. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Arrest reports obtained by The Associated Press say the gunman who killed seven people in West Texas over Labor Day weekend was arrested in August 2001 in McLennan County for trying to break into a woman's bedroom after threatening to kill her brother.

McLennan County Sheriff's Office records show Seth Ator jumped from a second-floor window to avoid authorities the day after the attempted break-in in Lorena.

Hospital staff later determined Ator had "suicidal tendencies."

Waco Assistant Chief Robert Lanning told AP Wednesday that Ator was treated in July 2001 at an in-patient facility in the city.

Lanning says Ator tore down the ceiling in his room, broke a chair, punched a hole in a wall and was so threatening some staff locked themselves in a nursing station, AP reported.

Ator was later locked in a "seclusion room,” AP reported.

Lanning says when security went into the room Ator approached them holding a piece of pipe he'd pried from the toilet, and they pepper-sprayed him.

Lanning told AP his statements were based on a police report from the incident.

According to online records that KWTX obtained earlier, McLennan County deputies arrested Ator on Aug. 3, 2001 in connection with a criminal trespass incident on Aug 1, 2001 and for evading arrest the next day.

He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges in McLennan County Court at Law and was sentenced on Feb. 28, 2002 to 24 months deferred adjudication probation, online records show.

The offenses would not have prevented Ator from purchasing a weapon, but he was blocked from buying a gun in 2014 because of a “mental health issue.”

Ator attended Lorena schools from January 1995 to November 2000, but did not graduate, the Lorena ISD said in a statement Monday, correcting earlier reports that Ator was a 2001 Lorena High School graduate.

During that time frame, Ator moved several times between Canyon ISD in Amarillo and Lorena ISD,” the district said.

“Lorena ISD records show Ator withdrew from Lorena High School in November of 2000 to enroll in a GED program,” the district said.

Lorena resident Niki Lehmann was a year ahead of him and says they hung out in different circles but she doesn't remember him as a bad kid.

"He was a nice kid, I know he played football," said Lehmann. "I was surprised, I was really surprised, yeah, shocked that he would do something like that, that it would have a connection with anybody in Lorena."