Toddler hit in Texas shooting still wants to 'run around and play,' mother tells governor

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A 17-month old toddler shot during a deadly gun rampage in West Texas suffered serious injuries to her mouth, lips and tongue, but still wants to "run around and play," the girl's mother told Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a text message on Sunday.

Anderson Davis was among the 22 people wounded in a shooting on Saturday that claimed seven victims' lives, as well as that of the gunman.

Abbott told a news conference he had received a message from the girl's mother, who said her daughter was in good spirits despite her injuries, and the injuries could be addressed.

"This is all of our worst nightmare, but thank God she's alive and relatively well," the governor quoted the mother's message. "Toddlers are funny because they can get shot and still want to run around and play. We are thanking God for that."

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Mass shooting in Odessa, Texas
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Mass shooting in Odessa, Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gestures during a news conference concerning Saturday's shooting Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. From left are Christopher Combs, FBI Special Agent in Charge, San Antonio, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke and Abbott. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke announces that he does not want to speak the name of the shooter from Saturday's shooting during a news conference Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke, center, answers a question concerning Saturday's shooting during a news conference Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. From left are Christopher Combs, FBI Special Agent in Charge, San Antonio, Gerke, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, right, pats Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke, left, on the shoulder during a news conference about Saturday's shooting, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Law enforcement officials process a scene involved in Saturday's shooting, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. The death toll in the West Texas shooting rampage increased Sunday as authorities investigated why a man stopped by state troopers for failing to signal a left turn opened fire on them and fled, shooting more than a dozen people as he drove before being killed by officers outside a movie theater. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A city of Odessa police car, left, and a U.S. mail vehicle, right, which were involved in Saturday's shooting, are pictured outside the Cinergy entertainment center, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. The death toll in the West Texas shooting rampage increased Sunday as authorities investigated why a man stopped by state troopers for failing to signal a left turn opened fire on them and fled, shooting over a dozen people as he drove before being killed by officers outside a movie theater. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A U.S. Mail vehicle, right, which was involved in Saturday's shooting, is pictured outside the Cinergy entertainment center Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas. The death toll in the West Texas shooting rampage increased Sunday as authorities investigated why a man stopped by state troopers for failing to signal a left turn opened fire on them and fled, shooting over a dozen people as he drove before being killed by officers outside a movie theater. A police vehicle is partially blocked at left. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Agentes acordonan un tramo de acera en una calle en Odessa, Texas, el sábado 31 de agosto de 2019, después de que un hombre armado secuestrara un vehículo del servicio postal y baleara a más de 20 personas, según las autoridades. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American vía AP)
Un hombre reza ante la unidad de urgencias del Medical Center Hospital en Odessa, Texas, el sábado 31 de agosto de 2019 tras un tiroteo en la zona de Odessa y Midland, en el oes de Texas. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)
Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke talks to the media in the Odessa Police Department in Odessa, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, after a man fired at random in the area of Odessa and Midland. Several people were dead after a gunman who hijacked a postal service vehicle in West Texas shot more than 20 people, authorities said Saturday. The gunman was killed and a few law enforcement officers were among the injured. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: A damaged police vehicle and U.S. Postal Service van blocked off with tape nearby to where a gunman was shot and killed at Cinergy Odessa movie theater following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: A damaged police vehicle and U.S. Postal Service van blocked off with tape nearby to where a gunman was shot and killed at Cinergy Odessa movie theater following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: A damaged police vehicle and U.S. Postal Service van blocked off with tape nearby to where a gunman was shot and killed at Cinergy Odessa movie theater following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott leaves a press conference with local and federal law enforcement at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference with local and federal law enforcement at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference with local and federal law enforcement at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
ODESSA, TX - SEPTEMBER 1: Flowers hang on the Odessa Police Department sign following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas. Seven people had been killed, in addition to the gunman and at least 21 others were wounded, including three law enforcement officers after a gunman went on a rampage. The man who has not been identified fled from state troopers who had tried to pull him over. The gunman then hijacked a United States postal van and indiscriminately fired from a rifle at people before the authorities shot and killed him outside a movie theater in Odessa. (Photo by Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
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The mother, whose name was not given, told Abbott the girl would have surgery on Monday to fix her lip and mouth, and to remove shrapnel from her chest. Her jaw was not hit, she said.

An online fundraising campaign to cover medical expenses had raised $140,705 as of Sunday afternoon.

The website said Davis was hit by a bullet fragment during the shooting. It includes a posting from the mother written during a long drive to Lubbock, Texas while her daughter was being flown to the hospital there for treatment.

"Anderson is 17 months old, has shrapnel in her right chest, which, thank God, is superficial. She has a hole through her bottom lip and tongue and her front teeth were knocked out," she wrote at the time.

Authorities have not identified the victims or the gunman, describing him only as a white male in his 30s who was known to police.

This weekend's bloodshed between the Texan cities of Midland and Odessa began on Saturday afternoon when two state troopers pulled over a car on Interstate 20 and the lone occupant fired at their patrol vehicle with a rifle, wounding one of them.

After fleeing, the suspect hijacked a postal van and opened fire on police officers, motorists and shoppers on a busy Labor Day holiday weekend before being shot dead outside the Cinergy cinema complex in Odessa, police said.

Local media reported that Anderson Davis was struck by bullet fragments while sitting in her car seat next to her twin brother outside a Twin Peaks restaurant.

Last month, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang was moved to tears when the mother of another set of twins talked about her 4-year-old daughter being killed by a stray bullet at 2011.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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