“It’s sad and it’s scary,” said the parent of a student at the school.
A shooting outside an elementary school in Los Angeles left a 13-year-old boy dead and two people seriously injured, including a 9-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet while in a playground, authorities said.
The violent episode marked the latest in a growing number of shootings in Los Angeles, which saw a 12% increase in homicides and an almost 14% increase in shootings this year from 2020, according to criminal statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Gunshots erupted shortly before 5 p.m. Monday outside Wilmington Park Primary School when at least two gunmen approached an occupied vehicle stopped near the school and opened fire, according to the police.
The boy who was killed and a 20-year-old woman were inside the apparently targeted Dodge Durango, police said. The injured woman drove several blocks from the shooting scene and called 911, police said.
The critically injured child was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Los Angeles Fire Department officials said at ABC KABC station in Los Angeles. The driver was in critical condition at a hospital on Monday evening, officials said.
The 9-year-old, a fourth grader, was in the playground at Wilmington Park Elementary School as part of an after-school program when she was hit by a stray bullet and seriously injured, said the school officials.
“She was in the schoolyard playing, doing what a 9-year-old is supposed to do,” LAPD captain Adrian Gonzalez told reporters at the scene.
Police officials said officers initially suspected two separate shootings, but after speaking to witnesses they determined the shootings were related.
No arrests have been made and a motive is under investigation, police said.
The shooting left parents of school students in shock and fear for their own children.
“It’s sad and scary,” Maria Garcia, whose daughter is in school, told KABC. “I’m always paranoid. I’m always scared. I always watch her, I always call her, I always make sure that she is okay and that she is safe.”
Los Angeles has recorded at least 352 homicides through the end of November, up from 314 at the same time last year, according to police department crime statistics. The city also recorded 1,328 gunshot victims, up from 1,168 at the same time last year, according to statistics.
“It is such a tragedy. Gun violence has destroyed too many lives in this country and tonight it terrorized another community,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the Wilmington area. “I pray for the family of this little boy and for the recovery of the little girl and young woman.”