Christine Roy was getting ready for bed at her north San Bernardino apartment when she heard a burst of gunshots followed by “hollering and screaming.” Fearing for the safety of her son, who was visiting friends nearby, she raced outside. Bodies were sprawled on the lawn and in the front entrance of a neighboring apartment building.
“I saw the young man hit in the head, the other child who was hit in the head … [a woman] had been hit twice, shoulder and leg,” Roy, 61, said. “She was on the sidewalk and asking somebody to help her.”
Eight people were shot late Sunday night in what police described as a “gun battle” at an apartment complex in a gang-ravaged stretch of Lynwood Drive. Six victims were expected to survive, but two — an adult and a 17-year-old boy — sustained gunshot wounds to the head and were in “extremely critical condition,” San Bernardino police Capt. Richard Lawhead said Monday.
Officers who swarmed the location found evidence of multiple weapons but few witnesses willing to tell police what happened, Lawhead said.
“The victims that we have that are able to communicate are not cooperating,” Lawhead said. “We need good people who were there to come forward and give us a little tidbit of information so we can build a case.”
Roy’s son had left the complex earlier and was not hurt. She said the images of the wounded victims — some of them people she knew — haunted her.
“Oh my God, I don’t want to see this,” she said Monday.
The neighborhood around the complex is known for gang activity, but it is unclear whether that played a role in the shooting. When the gunfire broke out, there was a dice game going on in the apartment complex, Lawhead said.
Early Monday morning, investigators could be seen behind police tape photographing the crime scene and collecting ballistic evidence. They also examined several vehicles struck by bullets. By midmorning, a worker from a private cleaning company was scrubbing blood stains from the sidewalk. Residents, including children, stared out from the windows of the two-story building at a growing media contingent that eventually outnumbered officers.
Wayne Wills, who manages the Sportspage bar a few doors down from the complex, said he closed down shortly after police cars began arriving.
“We just locked up. … We didn’t know what was going on,” Wills said. “The gangs are always out there fighting and shooting.”
He said the apartment complex was often the site of gang crime and that it didn’t surprise him that no one wanted to speak to police.
“No one says anything about anybody because they’re afraid,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the San Bernardino Police Department at (909) 384-5742. Anonymous tips are welcome, Lawhead said.