A child died at the hospital after three people including a 9-year-old were shot in Wilmington Monday evening in two incidents, likely related, that were about a mile from each other, authorities said.
The Los Angeles Police Department and LA City Fire said that three people were shot in the 1400 block of E Denni St. and the 800 block of N Eubank Ave.
Much is still unknown about the incident. As of Tuesday morning, police say they believe the 9-year-old was hit by a stray bullet, when shots were fired at an SUV on Denni St.
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One witness says she heard eight shots in the neighborhood -- an sound that isn't unusual for the area, but is more common in the middle of the night -- and hit the floor.
Those shots were aimed at an SUV driven by a woman, with a young boy as a passenger, police say. That woman was able to drive about a half-mile away to Eubank Ave. before calling for help.
Both the woman and the boy were shot.
That boy, identified as 12-year-old Alexander Alvarado by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, died after being rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Police initially said Alexander was 13 and the woman was in her 20s, then revised their statement Tuesday morning to say he was 12 and the woman was 30.
According to LAPD Chief Michael Moore, Alexander's 10-year-old brother was also a passenger in the SUV when it was shot at. He was not struck by gunfire.
The woman was in moderate condition when they were taken to the hospital, LA City Fire said.
The young girl was hit while playing in the school yard of Wilmington Park Elementary School, where she is a 4th-grade student, during an after-school event. At last report, she was in critical but stable condition.
The identities of the woman and of the 9-year-old girl are still unknown.
Wilmington Park Elementary School sent out a statement to parents and guardians late the night of the incident.
"The safety of students and staff is my top priority," Principal Luis Rivera says in the statement, explaining that the incident is "unrelated to the school."
"Los Angeles Police described the student as an unintended victim, and is being treated at a hospital," his statement reads. "The shooting occurred after school, shortly before 5 p.m. Los Angeles Police and Los Angeles School Police are investigating the shootings."
Rivera reassures parents that there will be extra security measures at the school Tuesday morning if necessary, that counseling will be available for students or staff who need it, and that children will be safe at the school.
"Our thoughts rest with the victim, and their family tonight," he said.
LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino and LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn each released statements expressing horror at the incident and support for the victims.
"Our parks and playgrounds should be safe havens for families and today they became a parent's worst nightmare," Buscaino said.
"Horrified by the violence that hit the Wilmington community this evening," Hahn said, offering prayers for the family of the boy who was killed and the recovery of the surviving victims.
Police are searching for possible motives behind the shooting and descriptions of the gunmen. Anyone with information or home security camera video that may help generate leads should contact the LAPD.
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