Police say two boys, 4 and 14 years old, were wounded and a beloved family pet was killed when multiple people fired shots toward a crowd on Wednesday in Prince George's County.
At around 6:20 p.m., District Heights police said a dark van and another dark vehicle pulled up to the 6700 block of Alpine Street in District Heights, Maryland, and people in the vehicles opened fire toward a crowd in Woodland Springs apartment complex.
A boy who was hit in the arm was stable as of Wednesday night. A teen was shot in the leg. Authorities said both of their injuries are not life-threatening.
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The 4-year-old was visiting relatives in the area with his mother.
“He said, ‘They need to stop shooting so many fireworks, because they shot so many fireworks, I got a hole in my arm,’” a relative said.
The 14-year-old’s mother said his father was killed two years ago in a shooting at a Waldorf hookah lounge.
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“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “His friend, a couple of years ago, was grazed by a bullet.”
A dog was also shot and died at the scene, according to police.
When the shooting started, resident Regina Johnson’s first priority was the 2-month-old grandchild cradled in her arms, while just outside of her kitchen window, chaos took hold.
"Kids running and screaming, hollering and this and that. I'm like, oh my God," she said.
Johnson’s family dog, Danger, was killed in the gunfire.
"That dog was my son’s 14th birthday present I got from the shelter," she said. "You got idiots riding around, kids with guns and weapons and shooting them randomly."
The suspect vehicles are described only as a mini-van and black sedan, which both fled the scene after the shooting.
For residents, this type of violence has become all too common in the neighborhood.
"It's like the wild, wild west around here. It's not just the last couple of months, this is even in the winter time. This is all the time," one person, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. "Three months ago, a bullet came through my window and just missed my daughter's head."
Like many communities plagued by gun violence, these folks keep coming back to the same questions. They wonder where the parents, jobs and activities are to keep young people out of trouble.
They know police can only do so much, and authorities are just as frustrated.
"I'm a father. I live in the community, and it just makes me upset to see that they have to live through this," Acting Chief Ronald Tarpley, of District Heights police, said.
By now, neighbors are accustomed to seeing the police and local anti-violence activists respond. What angers Johnson is the group that wasn't there.
"These people that want to be elected need to come out here. They need to come out here and walk through these streets," she said.
But after another incident of gun violence, just showing up isn’t enough.
"They have to do better, that’s all there is to it," the anonymous resident said.