Friends help former Central Texas trooper wounded in mass shooting

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) Department of Public Safety trooper Chuck Pryor, who was wounded at the start of the shooting rampage in West Texas that left seven dead is a former Fort Hood soldier who started his DPS career here.

DPS Trooper Chuck Pryor was the first victim of the shooting rampage in West Texas that left seven dead and more than 20 injured. (GoFundMe photo)

Pryor, who was shot in the face, remains hospitalized, and friends of the couple here are stepping up to help him and his family.

Stephanie and Jeff Garberich are the owners of the About Face Anti-Aging Institute in Harker Heights where the trooper's wife, Bridget, worked from the time the institute opened until 2016 until Pryor was transferred to the Midland area.

During those years, work friends became more like family.

The owners spent time with the Pryor's son Brayden, also seeing firsthand as Pryor transitioned from a Fort Hood soldier to a state trooper in training.

"He was loving it- excelling, and couldn’t wait to get back in the field and serve," adds Stephanie.

She and her husband describe Pryor as honest and hard-working- adding that even while off-duty, he never stopped being a soldier.

"I had a couple of incidents where my car broke down. The selfless guy he is- he offered to help me and spent hours helping me fix my car," says Jeff.

"Of course we tried to compensate him for his time. He absolutely refused!"

Bridget Pryor is expected to spend weeks away from work while her husband recovers, but support is pouring in from friends, family, and even strangers through a GoFundMe page.

An update from the page Monday said Pryor is doing well, is no longer intubated, and is surrounded by friends and family.

Pryor was shot after he and another DPS trooper pulled over former Lorena ISD student Seth Ator, 36, for a traffic violation at around 5:15 p.m. Saturday on Interstate 20 in Midland.

Ator point an assault-style rifle at the officers through the rear window and opened fire.

He then sped west to Odessa, firing randomly and other cars and then continued firing as he entered the city.

He killed seven people including a U.S. Postal Service employee whose post office vehicle he hijacked.

More than 20 including Pryor were wounded.

Ator died in an exchange of gunfire with authorities after an officer rammed the stolen post office vehicle he was driving outside of a theater.