- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2012

Three innocent bystanders — two young boys and a camp counselor — were shot Monday afternoon while headed to a free meal program in a Southeast neighborhood, police said.

The shooter is believed to have been targeting another person when he opened fire and struck a 7-year-old boy in the shoulder, an 8-year-old boy in the ankle and a man in his 40s in the leg, said the Metropolitan Police Department’s 7th District Cmdr. Joel Maupin. The 7-year-old is in serious condition, but none of the victims’ injuries are believed to be life threatening, he said.

“What we think is that the subject ran by the intended victim — shot at the subject and ended up striking the children,” Cmdr. Maupin said. “The individual really didn’t pay attention to where they were shooting or didn’t care.”

The shooting happened at about noon in the 1900 block of Savannah Street Southeast as a group of up to 30 children were lined up on the sidewalk and on their way to a local free meal program. When gunshots rang out, the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 12, ran with their counselors across the street to the rental office of the Grandview Village apartments to take cover, Cmdr. Maupin said.

“The kids are being interviewed, and we are making sure they are all OK, and then we are releasing them to their parents,” he said.

Several residents who live in nearby apartment complexes described hearing between five and nine consecutive gunshots.

“There were five or six shots, real quick,” Alonte Thornton, 22, said. “Shootings happen here but not too often. But we don’t have kids getting shot.”

Others were appalled that children would be shot and injured in the neighborhood.

“It hurts to see kids going through this,” Sandy Bell, 41, said.

As police surveyed the area looking for the suspect Monday afternoon, coordinators from the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program continued to serve lunches to children from the basement of an apartment building. A woman overseeing the program declined to talk with a reporter.

Police described the shooting suspect as a heavy-set black man with a ponytail, wearing a white T-shirt. However investigators are also interested in locating the person they believe was being targeted.

“The intended target may have been chased by the other individuals. We would like to talk to him,” Cmdr. Maupin said.

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