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Toddler hit in Texas shooting still wants to run around, play: Mum

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Mum says the little girl is in good spirits and will have surgery to fix lip and mouth

WASHINGTON: A 17-month-old toddler shot during a deadly gun rampage in West Texas suffered serious injuries to her mouth, lip and tongue, but still wants to "run around and play", her mother told Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a text on Sunday.

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

Mr 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 is alive and relatively well," he 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 Mr Abbott the girl would have surgery to fix her lip and mouth, and to remove shrapnel from her chest.

An online fund-raising campaign to cover medical expenses had raised US$134,385 (S$187,000) as of Sunday afternoon. The website said Anderson 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.

Latest reports say the shooter, identified by police as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, was fired from his trucking job hours before the massacre.

Hours later, Ator was pulled over in Midland by Texas state troopers on Interstate 20 for failing to use a turn signal, police said.

Armed with an AR-type rifle, Ator fired out the back window of his vehicle, injuring one trooper.

Then he drove away spraying gunfire indiscriminately, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

At one point, Ator abandoned his vehicle and hijacked a US postal van and mortally wounded the postal carrier, identified by postal officials as Ms Mary Grandos, 29.

In a related development, US President Donald Trump said that background checks on gun purchasers would not have prevented the recent gun violence in the country.

He made the remarks to reporters at the White House after returning to Washington from Camp David. Mr Trump said he would be working with Democrats and Republicans on gun legislation when Congress returns this month.

"I think Congress has a lot of thinking to do, frankly. They have been doing a lot of work," Mr Trump said.

"I think you are going to see some interesting things coming along."

Later, Mr Trump said that "for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it".

He initially indicated a willingness to support more stringent background checks on gun buyers but has since seemed to more closely align himself with the gun lobby, which opposes any increased restrictions. - REUTERS