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‘We will get through this’: Odessa mayor speaks out at vigil for 7 slain in Texas shooting

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‘This will not break us’: Odessa mayor speaks about support they’ve received in wake of shooting
WATCH: 'This will not break us': Odessa mayor speaks about support they've received in wake of shooting – Sep 1, 2019

The mayors of two neighbouring West Texas cities that were stunned by a shooting rampage over the weekend spoke out at a vigil held for the seven victims on Sunday night.

(Saturday) was a horrible day that shook us to our very foundation but this will not break us,” said David Turner, mayor of Odessa.

READ MORE: No explanation yet for Texas shooting that left 7 dead, police say

The Aug. 31 shooting was a frenzy of violence that left seven people dead and injured 22 people, including a 17-month-old toddler.

Prayers and support

Speaking at a vigil held Sunday evening at University of Texas Permian Basin, Turner recalled when he first learned of the shooting — a friend had called him while Turner was out of town.

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READ MORE: Here’s what we know about those hurt and killed in the West Texas shootings

I left Fort Worth as quick I could, driving above the speed limit, to get here, see what was going on,” Turner said.

A routine traffic stop on Saturday became one of several crime scenes when the gunman started shooting at police before taking off in a gold car. He shot randomly for around 16 kilometres while driving in the area of Odessa and Midland before abandoning the vehicle and hijacking a U.S. Postal Service truck — killing the lone mail carrier inside.

READ MORE: 5 killed, at least 21 injured in Texas shooting, police say

Police used a marked SUV to ram the truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, where they then gunned the shooter down.

Turner recounted that harrowing moment in front of the gathered crowd at the vigil.

“The reason that person was stopped was because of a Midland police officer and an Odessa police officer,” he said. “They rammed his car and stopped him and when he got out, they shot him dead.”

WATCH: Emotional reading given at vigil for Texas shooting victims

Click to play video: 'Emotional reading given at vigil for Texas shooting victims'
Emotional reading given at vigil for Texas shooting victims

The gunman was identified by authorities as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, of Odessa.

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Turner said the city of Odessa saw “the worst of humanity” on Saturday.

“But we also saw the best of humanity,” he said. “I’ve heard countless stories of how citizens of Odessa went out of their way to help their fellow man.”

Doctors and nurses showed up at hospitals without being asked, he said.

READ MORE: Trump says he’ll work with Congress to stop ‘menace of mass attacks’

The 22 injured included three law enforcement officers — one from Odessa police, one from Midland police, and one state trooper from the Texas Department of Public Safety, he said.

“I have visited the two officers,” he said. “The Odessa officer is in fairly good shape.”

WATCH: Odessa mayor says he visited police officers injured in shooting

Click to play video: 'Odessa mayor says he visited police officers injured in shooting'
Odessa mayor says he visited police officers injured in shooting

Active shooter training is something the town has “stressed,” Turner said as he thanked law enforcement professionals for their work. “Our first responders did an absolutely amazing job.”

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Midland Mayor Jerry Morales echoed those sentiments, saying the “acts of kindness” in both cities over the weekend “came out of nowhere.”

Describing the gunman as an “idiot” and refusing to speak his name, Morales said: “This idiot cannot break our faith.”

What we know of the victims so far

The U.S. Postal Service said in a statement that it is “shocked and saddened” by the death of 29-year-old mail carrier Mary Granados.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the 17-month-old victim — Anderson Davis — is recovering but she faces surgery on Monday to remove shrapnel from her right chest. She also suffered injuries to her face.

WATCH: Odessa mayor pays tribute to 7 killed in Texas shooting

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Odessa mayor pays tribute to 7 killed in Texas shooting

“Her mouth is pretty bad, but will heal and can be fixed,” her mother, Kelby Davis, said in a text message, according to Abbott. “Thankfully it doesn’t seem like her jaw was hit. Just lips, teeth and tongue. … We are thanking God for healing her and appreciate continued prayers.”

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A joint public statement issued by the Davis family offered thanks to emergency responders, hospital staff and “strangers who offered to help us on the street.”

READ MORE: 20 dead, 26 wounded in El Paso, Texas, shooting, police say

Abbott says the girl’s mother also texted: “Toddlers are funny because they can get shot but still want to run around and play.”

Daniel Munoz, 28, who was injured, recalled the harrowing details of coming into the path of the gunman. Munoz was in his car on the way to meet a friend for a drink, when he yielded to a car coming off Interstate 20. He immediately noticed what he feared to be a barrel of a rifle in the hands of the driver.

WATCH: West Texas gunman terminated by employer before mass shooting

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“This is my street instincts: When a car is approaching you and you see a gun of any type, just get down,” Munoz, who moved from San Diego about a year ago to work in oil country, told The Associated Press. “Luckily, I got down. … Sure enough, I hear the shots go off. He let off at least three shots on me.”

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He’s not exactly sure, but it appears one shot hit the engine, another struck the driver’s side window and a third a rear window. Some shattered glass punctured his left shoulder, causing him to bleed a lot and go to a nearby hospital. He said he’s physically OK but bewildered by the experience.

“I’m just trying to turn the corner and I got shot — I’m getting shot at?” Munoz said. “What’s the world coming to? For real? I’m just over here minding my own business, getting my own gas.”

— With files by The Associated Press

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