LUBBOCK, Texas – The man who sold an AR-15-style rifle used in a 2019 mass shooting that killed seven people in West Texas was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison, prosecutors said.
Marcus Anthony Braziel, 45, of Lubbock pleaded guilty in October to unlicensed firearms dealing and concealing the proceeds from weapons sales from the IRS.
Braziel admitted selling the rifle that Seth Aaron Ator, of Odessa, used when he killed seven people and wounded 25 others in the Midland-Odessa area. The rampage ended when police shot Ator dead.
According to court documents, Braziel admitted selling Ator an AR-15-style rifle on Oct. 8, 2016 — nearly three years before the Aug. 31, 2019, shooting rampage.
Documents said Ator, who had been adjudicated “mentally defective” and was legally prohibited from possessing firearms, first attempted to purchase a gun from a sporting goods store but was rejected after his mental status was flagged in the national database. He circumvented that system by buying a gun from Braziel, who did not run background checks on any of his buyers.
Although background checks are not required for in-state, private gun sales, Braziel admitted he was “engaged in the business of selling firearms” and should have been licensed and checking his clients’ backgrounds. He admitted routinely buying firearm firing mechanisms, using milling equipment to build them into guns, then selling them for profits of $100 to $200.