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Stray bullet kills 3-year-old girl riding in car 'in the wrong place at wrong time' with her family

A 3-year-old girl was killed Sunday night after she was struck by gunfire while riding in a car with her family through a Stockton neighborhood, police said.

The girl, who has not been identified, her mother, grandmother and another family member were inside the car at 8:26 p.m. as it headed down the 1100 block of South Commerce Street and gunshots rang out, according to the Stockton Police Department.

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After hearing the gunshots, the family began checking on everyone inside the car and noticed the girl was hit, police spokesman Officer Joseph Silva said. The family immediately drove the toddler to the hospital, where the girl died. The family was not the intended target, police said.

"This is a case of just being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

Detectives have not determined a motive for the shooting, but will be "relentless in trying to find out exactly who did this and hold them accountable for their actions," Silva said.

"What occurred was a senseless act of violence committed by cowards with guns," he said. "Anytime there is a loss, that's a tragedy, especially where you have a 3-year-old girl. That hits home to the Police Department and our entire community."

Shootings are common in the South Stockton neighborhood, Silva said.

A day before the girl was shot, police said a 30-year-old man was killed and a 24-year-old man was hit by gunfire at a shopping center in the 1000 block of South Center Street.

The earlier shooting was about a block away from where the girl was fatally hit.

Silva said the shootings don't appear to be related.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call police at (209) 937-8377, the Investigations Unit at (209) 937-8323, or Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600.

For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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