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Watts apartment shooting injures 9-year-old, 18-year-old aunt

A victim is wheeled out of an apartment complex following a shooting at 106th Street and Central Avenue in Watts on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.
November 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A 9-year-old and her 18-year-old aunt were injured in a gang-related shooting in Watts Sunday night.

Police say gun-toting gang members walked up to the house at about 8 p.m. and opened fire, striking the front wall, door and window of the residence at 106th Street and Central Avenue.

According to Los Angeles police, the 18-year-old woman and her niece were inside their apartment with others when about 12 shots were fired into the building. Both victims were taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with wounds to their legs.

Police say gang members from rival territory targeted the house because a man who they confronted and shot at earlier that day was inside of the home and they were hoping to finish the job.

"The location where it happened is on the borderline between two feuding gangs and so I think he was just mistaken for being a rival gang member," said LAPD Detective Peter Verschueren. "He is not a gang member."

"It has to stop," said Gennis Johnson, the girl's mother. "My 9-year-old did not deserve to get shot."

Johnson says her daughter Janiya was inside of the home visiting family members when multiple gunshots were fired into the home.

"My daughter got shot because she was shielding her two little cousins, a 3-year-old and 5-year-old," said Johnson. "She didn't know she was hit. She was concerned about the boys, the two little boys. The violence, it has to cease."

The 9-year-old girl was wounded in the leg, and a bullet grazed another relative, the girl's 18-year-old aunt. The girl's younger cousins were not hurt.

Ecoiya Mason says she is grateful to Janiya for protecting her boys during the shooting.

"It could have been my kids, you know, she was protecting my boys. My mother was killed by gunfire when I was a little kid, and my kids are traumatized, my 3-year-old keeps saying 'Mama, Janiya was shot, Janiya got shot.' As a mother it hurts because you never want your baby to experience nothing like that," said Mason.

"My daughter, she's fine, she is walking, she is talking, she's OK. If anything, I'm the mess," said Gennis Johnson.

Anyone with information related to the shooting should call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) LAPD-24-7.


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