6-Year-Old Girl Struck by Stray Bullet in Playground

A 6-year-old girl and was shot while playing at a Petworth apartment complex playground Tuesday evening. A man was also injured in the incident.

The girl and six or seven other children were in the playground at the Park Morton apartment complex on Morton Street and Georgia Avenue NW when the shots started coming.

A resident who didn't want to be identified said her heart turned cold in her chest when she realized the shots were coming from near the playground, and the scene exploded into chaos. Children ran from the scene and left their sneakers and flip-flops behind.

"Get the kids off the playground! Get the kids off the playground!" she told other neighbors. "'Cause you could just see everybody; they had crouched down and were ducking, and the adults that were on the playground just started scooping up the little kids, and just running off."

"It was chaos. It was pure chaos," another witness said. "I have never seen children that terrified in my life. It was disturbing."

Rescue crews arrived on the scene around 7:20 p.m. to find the little girl suffering from a gunshot wound. She was transported to a local hospital and is expected to be OK.

"She was like, 'I'm gonna die, somebody help me, somebody help me!'" the girl's mother Colandria Smalley told News4's Pat Collins. "Everybody reassured her that she wasn't going to die."

The bullet entered and exited the girl's left knee -- she's expected to make a full recovery.

"She said she didn't want to get shot again so she just kept running," Smalley said. "I just hope that whoever did it, I hope that your a-- goes to jail."

Police say a man with a gunshot wound to the back ran a block away to Georgia Avenue and Park Road NW, where he collapsed. He was transported to a local hospital and is also expected to recover.

"My neighbors and me, we can't handle [the crime] anymore; it's too much," the neighbor said. "I mean, that's somebody's baby."

Hours after the shooting, crime scene investigators combed the playground for shell casings and other evidence. Detectives canvassed the area looking for information and a possible description of the shooter.

Residents of the complex, right in the middle of a neighborhood that's growing in popularity, say there has been a troubling increase in violence there lately.

"There was a pregnant lady out there; she was grabbing her stomach like she was about to go into labor," the neighbor said. "She was so distraught."

Police say the suspect is described as a 5'4" black man in his mid-20s with a light goatee who carried a silver handgun and wore a black skull cap, black hooded sweatshirt, black cargo pants, black booths and black sunglasses the night of the shooting.

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