Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday, Sept. 5, issued eight executive orders in hopes of preventing further mass shootings.
Abbott’s orders came days after seven people were killed and 25 injured in multiple shootings by a lone gunman along thoroughfares connecting the cities of Odessa and Midland on Aug. 31. The suspect fired at law enforcement officers and civilians, some of the time while driving a postal van he had hijacked to continue the shooting spree.
Law enforcement officers brought the rampage to a halt in an exchange of gunfire resulting in the death of the suspect when the van he was driving had come to a stop after ramming a police vehicle.
The suspect, a 36-year-old white male armed with an assault rifle, was identified as Seth Aaron Ator of Odessa.
Posted online at gov.texas. gov, Abbott’s orders enhance reporting requirements and ensure law enforcement and the public have the training, tools and resources to provide and respond to suspicious-activity reports, Abbott said.
Ordinary citizens’ reports of suspicious activities are accepted via phone call to 512-424-7981 or 866-786-5972, by fax to 512- 424-7418, or by email to TXFusionCenter@dps.texas.gov.
“Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings,” Abbott said in a news release containing the executive orders. “One of those objectives is to marshal law enforcement resources to stop violent criminals before they commit mass murders.
“But more must be done. I will continue to work expeditiously with the legislature on laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, while safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans.”
The governor’s office referred to the executive orders as “a starting point in the process to keep Texas communities safe…to further advance solutions and jumpstart legislative action.”
In related news, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen last week named select committees to study issues relating to the recent mass shootings and earlier mass shootings in Santa Fe, Sutherland Springs and Dallas.