West Texas residents grieve at prayer vigil

West Texas Strong

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Hundreds of West Texas residents stood and bowed their heads together, reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a vigil for those killed in Saturday’s mass shooting.

In Spanish and English, pastors asked those gathered at the University of Texas Permian Basin on Sunday night to pray for the dead and the injured. Together they gave thanks for the police, nurses and others who responded to the tragedy in Odessa and Midland, Texas.

Throughout the day, residents had struggled to understand how their remote communities in the heart of Texas oil country about 350 miles (563 kilometers) west of Dallas, could be the site of such violence. With law enforcement yet to offer a motive for the shootings, Midland Mayor Jerry Morales echoed the frustration.

Morales said: “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere.” He added: “All we’ve talked about is oil forever. And then this happens.”

Odessa Mayor David Turner said: “We will get through the tragedy. We will show our beloved state and nation what it means to be Permian Basin strong.”

A gunman led police on a chase of more than 10 miles (16 kilometers), spraying bullets at people along the way and leaving seven dead and nearly two dozen injured.

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