8 wounded in Los Angeles street shooting

February 28, 2008 11:00:48 AM PST
Police are searching for a gunman who wounded eight people at a busy South Los Angeles bus stop as they try to figure out why he opened fire into a crowd of children and adults. Armed with a semiautomatic handgun, the man apparently was aiming at somebody but missed his target and shot others at the bus stop just after schools let out Wednesday, Lt. Ruben De La Torre said.

The shooting occurred around 3:15 p.m. at a busy intersection filled with shoppers, motorists and students. Two of the victims ran away and were found outside a nearby middle school, police Officer Sara Faden said.

The gunman ran away after firing the shots, she said. Four were critically wounded, including 10-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl and a 49-year-old woman, said Fire Department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies.

A 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and two men, ages 48 and 68, had minor injuries. All were expected to recover, De La Torre said.

Streets in the area were shut down, with police officers swarming the crime scene.

Ezequiel Cornejo, 23, a tire mechanic, said he heard about 10 gunshots, probably from a handgun.

"After that I saw a little girl running, she was running back to the school, she was holding her arm," he said.

Police were investigating various scenarios, including witness testimonies that the gunman stepped off a bus and started firing at the crowd. However, some witnesses said they saw two men arguing in the Jack In the Box behind the bus stop. One man left the restaurant, and when the other one stepped out the first man fired at him.

"It's childish, they could have talked it out or something," 17-year-old Keisha Willis said of the men.

Detectives were sorting out testimonies from the victims and witnesses, De La Torre said.

Amir Khani, who said he has operated a discount store next to the Jack in the Box since 1989, wasn't surprised by Wednesday's bloodshed.

"These things, on this corner, happen all the time - street fighting, gangbanging," Khani told the Los Angeles Times.

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