A 5-year-old boy playing in his driveway was shot and wounded Sunday when a neighbor fired at a passing car and accidentally hit the youngster in what police described as a gang-related incident.
Three teen-agers were later arrested less than a block away.
"It happened really fast," said Miguel Rosales, 19, who witnessed the shooting from across the street. "When we saw it, we all went down. I was really scared."
According to witnesses and police, the incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the 2200 block of West Pomona Street when a resident ran out of his house near the intersection of Pomona and Townsend streets and began firing at a car as it swerved around the corner. One of the bullets missed the car and hit the boy as he stood playing in his driveway.
"It was a through-and-through wound in the lower back," Sgt. A.J. Levatino of the Santa Ana Police Department said. "Doctors consider it a superficial wound."
The boy was taken to UCI Medical Center, Levatino said, where he was resting comfortably with his parents and was expected to be released Sunday night.
While police declined to identify the boy, family members and neighbors identified him as Jonathan Garcia, 5.
"He just fell on the ground," said Joseph Garcia, Jonathan's 9-year-old brother. "Then my mom picked him up and called the cops."
Police said they arrested two men, ages 18 and 19, as well as a 16-year-old girl in connection with the shooting a short time later. According to police, one of the three was suspected of being the neighbor who fired at the passing car and two others later joined him.
"We stopped them in a car and took them into custody," Levatino said. He declined to identify the three, saying that they were being questioned.
Police said they had not been able to identify any of the occupants of the car that was fired on, Levatino said, adding that investigators believe the incident was related to local gang activity.
On Sunday night, as investigators cordoned off the area in a search for evidence, concerned neighbors huddled on the sidewalks. The area, many said, has long been plagued by gang activity.
"It seems like there's a drive-by shooting every other weekend," said Juanita Nava, 29, who lives nearby with her three children. "It's scary.