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Texas Governor Says Odessa Shooting Suspect Failed Background Check

Texas governor Greg Abbott (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott lamented Monday that the suspected gunman in the Odessa shooting massacre over the weekend that claimed seven lives previously failed to pass a background check to buy a gun.

“Not only did the Odessa gunman have a criminal history…he also previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas,” Abbot wrote on Twitter. “He didn’t go thru a background check for the gun he used in Odessa. ”

“We must keep guns out of criminals’ hands,” the governor added.

On Saturday afternoon, the 36-year-old suspect killed seven and injured 22 others in Odessa and Midland in west Texas, including two police officers and a state trooper. The rampage started when he was pulled over for failing to use his signal, when he shot at Texas Department of Public Safety troopers with a rifle, and ended in a movie theater parking lot, where he was killed in a shootout with police. At one point he left his car, fatally shot a U.S. Postal Service worker, and hijacked the letter carrier’s van. He had been fired from his trucking job earlier that day and had a criminal history of trespassing and evading arrest.

A 17-month-old girl and 15-year-old girl are among the injured.

Democratic state representative Gina Hinojosa of Austin responded to the report that the shooter failed a previous background check with a call for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to prosecute more individuals who lie during their background checks.

“All too common. People fail background checks because they lie on them,” she wrote in a tweet. “This is against federal law but ATF almost never investigates or prosecutes.”

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