• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

South LA drive-by shooting injures bystanders

March 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Three people were injured in a drive-by shooting outside of a daycare center in South Los Angeles on Monday.

The triple shooting happened at a daycare center for children and young adults near Van Ness Ave. and W. Vernon Ave. in South Los Angeles.

The incident occurred outside a home that operates the Vernon Adult Day Program, a daycare program for the developmentally disabled. There were about 30 people at the house when the shooting occurred, many of them sitting outside.

Police said it was definitely a result of gang activity.

"I'm grateful to God to provide the service, but I'm hurt today to have to go to the hospital to save my consumers and my staff. Shot, for what? I am dismayed about this," said Katrina Hendrickson, who owns the daycare program.

"Nobody saw where they came from, we just heard 'pop-pop-pop-pop' and the staff started getting the consumers inside the building. That's when they noticed people were bleeding," said George Jenkins, program director of the Vernon Adult Day Program.

Police believe a gang member fired the shots that struck two residents of the facility and a caretaker. A worker was also struck.

"We had some kids that were sitting on the patio having some dinner, or some lunch, and then we had a shooting between what we believe to be two rival gangs, and unfortunately three people, two of which are children, were struck," said LAPD Capt. George Rodriguez.

Authorities say a car traveling westbound on Vernon stopped near the house at the intersection of Van Ness. The gunman got out and opened fire, apparently aiming at someone walking or in another vehicle.

"Eight, nine, 10 shots -- it was a lot," said Benjamin Bennett, a witness at the scene. "I could tell it was gunshots. I just got behind a wall as quick as I could."

"We don't know if there was somebody on the south side of the sidewalk that could have been walking, running from this location at the time that they were shooting, or if it was another passing vehicle that was in an easterly direction," said Rodriguez.

Authorities say the victims at the house were hit by stray bullets. Two teenagers suffered minor injuries. The adult worker was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the head. All three injuries were considered non-life-threatening.

The gunman escaped.

"These were just innocent bystanders, not intended victims that just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Rodriguez.

Police did not have suspect or vehicle descriptions.

Anyone with information related to the shooting was asked to call Los Angeles Police at the anonymous tip line at (877) LAPD-24-7.