ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — St. Paul police are looking for the person or persons responsible in the early Monday morning drive-by shooting that left a little girl in critical condition.
“He had his baby in his arms saying, ‘Please help me, my baby’s been shot in the head,'” neighbor Dennis Hudson said, recalling his friend asking for help.
Hudson describes a horrifying scene at the corner of Maryland Avenue West and Marion Street after gunfire targeted his neighbor’s backyard.
A 2-year-old girl, sitting in her mother’s lap, was struck in the head and gravely injured. Hudson attempted first aid to stop the bleeding until paramedics arrived.
“When you see a child with a bullet wound in the head, that hurts the soul really bad,” he said.
Police investigators believe the shooter pulled up to the house shortly after midnight and parked in the alley across from the home. That’s when neighbors describe a volley of shots breaking the early morning silence.
It’s unclear if anyone in the crowd returned fire or what exactly motivated the shooting in the first place.
Some witnesses aren’t cooperating with police, which lends to their suspicions that the gunfire was not random. Among those struck are 23-year-old Shawn Vang and Lee Lor, 27. Friends say that Vang is the little girl’s father.
“They believe there was some sort of connection between the shooter or shooters and at least one of the victims,” St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said. “Unfortunately, we don’t know the nature of that relationship.”
The two adults were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds. Still, it’s the image of that little girl that haunts neighbors like John Danial, who fled the violence and bloodshed of his native Iraq.
“It’s just not an easy feeling at all, don’t matter how many times you see it, hear about it, it’s just not easy, it’s really sad,” Danial said.
Neighbors fear the shooting stems from gang retaliation, but whatever the motive, an innocent child has paid a terrible price.
“Whoever did this doesn’t need to be on this earth,” Hudson said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact the St. Paul Police Homicide Unit at 651-266-5650.