September 1, 2019 / 6:51 PM / 14 days ago

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

(Corrects paragraph 2 to show 7 victims dead, not including gunman)

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.”

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 $134,385 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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