WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - In the midst of grieving over the tragic shootings of two 13-year old girls the community has come together in an outpouring of love, support and strength.
Lauren Landavazo who passed away, Makayla Smith who is recovering from her injuries and their families remain top of mind for many in Texoma and around the world.
We spoke to the Smith family tonight - not only about Makayla's road to recovery but the communities as well.
Makayla Smith's parents say their faith and Makayla's strength has gotten them through the last few days since the shooting.
"Your faith lets you recognize things that are out of your control. When I first heard the news all I could say was God protect my baby. Give your angels charge over her so that she may be okay."
Makayla was shot in the chest and is recovering at home after being hospitalized. Her mother Shamekia Smith says Makayla is doing well and her strength has been an inspiration.
"When she was in the hospital and we told her about Laura - that she didn't make it - the first thing she said was that she was sorry because she was trying to get to her. But her main focus was that she wanted to live for Lauren. That's what she said...that she was going to live for her."
The Smiths say Makayla is looking forward to getting back to school.
"She's eager to get back to school. We think it will be a couple of weeks. We have a couple follow up doctor appointments. Our challenge right now is trying to keep her form overexerting herself."
They say the past few days have been a roller coaster of emotions but Makayla has been very open about talking about what happened, which they think is healthy. They say she went to the memorial site on Kingston today which was difficult for her but they think she'll be alright.
"With prayer and the counseling we believe she'll be fine."
The Smiths say the support from the community and people around the nation has been unreal. They say not just people they know but strangers have been willing to support and help them.
"It's been just an overpouring of good will and good community support."
Rodney Smith is a senior minister at the Welch Street Church of Christ. He says dealing with what has happened is a struggle - and even as a man of God he struggles with it but he says he's determined to stay in a positive place.
"Hate can rise up but love will overcome every time. That's exactly what this community is doing. Coming together, showing love and togetherness and that can overcome hate any day."
As Makayla and the Smith family, along with the community start down the road to recovery - Rodney says they are so grateful for all the love and support they have received. He says as the old saying goes - you really don't know what you are made of until you go through adversity. He says this city is experiencing how great we are and can be, and how much we can get done when we work together.
"So much is going on in our country and our world. Wichita Falls is very shiny right now and I'm proud to be a citizen of this community."