3 children shot in gunfight crossfire

April 26, 2009 4:17:48 PM PDT
Two girls, ages one and four, are in the hospital after being caught right in the middle of a mid-afternoon gun battle on the streets of Oakland Saturday. The shooting erupted shortly after 2:00 p.m. along International Boulevard near 65th Street.

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The girls remained in the hospital Saturday evening, but their families said they were in stable condition. The two women who were with the girls were very shaken up. One of the women was one of the girl's aunts, the other her friend. The two girls are not related.

Police say a 14-year old boy who was also shot Saturday has been released from the hospital.

It was an emotional day for all the families but it was also very traumatic for everyone who was at the intersection and witnessed the shooting.

Aiman Abdalla said the two little girls had just left his shop with candy in hand, along with two women, when they were suddenly caught in the middle of a storm of bullets.

"As soon as they crossed the street I hear shooting, and saw a lot of people running that way. And, after that I called the Oakland Police Department," he said.

Police say the 1-year-old girl was shot in the legs while riding in her stroller. The 4-year old girl was shot in the chest while in the arms of one of the two women. A 14-year old boy who was nearby was shot in the back.

Investigators say they all got caught in the middle of a gunfight.

"We don't know whether it was a gang or not, but witnesses on the scene are saying it is two groups of young males that were shooting at each other," said Sgt. David Carman.

The intersection of International Boulevard and 65th Avenue was full of people. It was 2:15 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Witnesses say they heard the women screaming, saw the girls bleeding and felt a terrible sadness.

"I cried. To see something like that happen to a little girl? I don't know what to do. But, this is something that hurts everybody," said Naim Abdulah.

The women carried the girls to the nearby little Caasar's pizza store and begged for help. The workers there tried to patch them up with some Band-Aids at first, not realizing they were dealing with gunshot wounds.

"They really tried their best, but the ambulance came and they took them out," said the store manager Peter Aguas.

The employees were so upset about the shootings, the manager had to send them home.

"It's just a horrible thing. There's nothing they could've done to prevent it. But, it just goes to show the disregard by these people, that they're willing to shoot at each other and it doesn't matter who gets caught in the crossfire," said Oakland Police Sergeant David Carman.

Police say about 15 rounds were fired from semi-automatic guns. The bullets also hit three cars, shattering the glass in one of them. The glass hit a woman inside one of the vehicles in the face. She is expecting to be okay.

Police have not made any arrests but say they are following up on leads.

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