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Drive-By Shooting Seriously Wounds Girl, 4, Playing in Her Frontyard

Times Staff Writer

A 4-year-old girl playing in front of her South Los Angeles home was seriously wounded Monday when an SUV pulled up and its occupants sprayed bullets at her and about half a dozen other children, police said.

The girl, whose name was not released by police, was shot in the stomach and leg about 4:30 p.m. She was taken to a hospital, where she underwent surgery and was in stable condition, police said.

The incident at Firth Boulevard and 92nd Street also left three cars pierced with bullets. Police had no suspects, and said witnesses differed in describing the color of the sport utility vehicle -- agreeing only that it was dark in color. It was unknown how many people were in the SUV or how many shooters there were.

The shooting occurred just four miles from a June 30 crime that left three dead, including a 10-year-old boy. Police have yet to locate assailants in either case, said Lee Sands, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

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“It’s always sad when a person of any age is shot, but the LAPD and the community are outraged that someone at this age, playing in front of her own home, is the victim of a senseless shooting,” Sands said.

Sands said police were not sure whether the children were the shooter’s targets but that it did appear the shooting was gang-related.

Iris Bailey, one of the girl’s aunts, said her 7-year-old daughter, Makyah, had been playing with her cousin in the frontyard and watched her collapse against a broken white fence after being shot twice. Makyah ran into the house to tell the girl’s grandmother and call her mother.

“She called me and told me there was a shooting and that she wanted me to come pick her up,” Bailey said.

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Bailey said her daughter plays with her 4-year-old cousin and other neighborhood children almost every day outside the girl’s house, located between an elementary school and a church.

Until now, Bailey said, she considered the neighborhood safe.

“It’s just like any other place in South-Central Los Angeles,” Bailey said. “I’ll probably even still take my daughter to play here again -- she’ll just have to stay in the backyard.”

As family members waited for police to finish investigating the crime scene Monday night, Makyah begged her mother to take her to the hospital to see her cousin. She said she was worried about the girl pulling through.

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Putting her hands to her own face, Makyah said, “Her face looked blue.”


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