A mother was sitting in her kitchen Saturday night in Hall Manor styling her 8-year-old daughter’s hair.
Her son and his cousin were chatting in the living room. It was a beautiful fall evening so they had the front door open, allowing the fresh air to come inside through the screen door.
Then suddenly, the mother heard gunshots. She hit the floor and looked over at her daughter, who was playing on a tablet using earbuds, so the girl didn’t hear the danger. The mother reached over and yanked her daughter from her seat to try to protect her, just as a bullet ripped through their screen door.
The bullet hit the 33-year-old cousin in the arm and the 8-year-old girl in her arm, leaving blood splattered on the kitchen floor.
The mother called 911, and an ambulance rushed the wounded woman and girl to a hospital. PennLive is not identifying the victims because the shooter remains on the loose.
Neighbors believe the gunfire may have come from the community park, which abuts the row of apartments where the stray bullet ended up. Residents told police where they thought the gunfire emanated, but officers did not find any shell casings to confirm a location, said Lt. Kyle Gautsch.
Police don’t believe the victims were the intended target, Gautsch said. The investigation is ongoing, as police continue to try to identify who fired the gun and why.
The police department assigns three officers to exclusively patrol the city’s various housing communities. One of those officers was near Hall Manor at the time of the shooting. The officer “actually heard the shots and responded,” Gautsch said. “The response time was pretty much immediate.”
Before the shooting, the family had been enjoying each other’s company. The young girl had put her earbuds in to be able to concentrate on what she was watching on the tablet.
“I put the last ball rubber band (hair tie) in her head. I turn towards the sink to wash my hands and that’s I heard the first shot” the mother said. “I heard the first shot pow! I automatically dropped to the floor. I knew nine times out of ten ,more shots were coming.”
She assumed her daughter also taking cover.
“I just knew that my baby was on the ground. I said where’s my baby? I looked up and she’s still sitting in the chair. She never heard the shots!”
Her mother’s quick actions may have saved the girl’s life.
“When I dove from the sink to the chair, I yanked her from the seat and that’s when the second bullet hit her arm. I got her just in time.”
As it turned out, the bullet went through the cousin’s arm as she was sitting on the couch. The mother initially thought the bullet then grazed her daughter but soon realized it had penetrated her daughter’s arm as well, landing in the microwave.
“She said, ‘Mom I got shot.’ I said, ‘I know baby, it’s gonna be okay.’ I was on the floor beside her calling 911…She said, ‘Why me mom? Why it had to be me?’ I said, ‘baby you’re fine. You’re still here. We love you. You got a lot of love out here. Everybody was so concerned.
“That night she crawled under my wing after giving her a bath and fell asleep.”
Her daughter missed school Monday, but said she was ready to return to her class Tuesday.
Both the girl and the 33-year-old are recovering from their injuries, Gautsch said, adding that the police department was planning extra patrols in Hall Manor.
Saturday night’s shooting was the second in two days near Hall Manor. A man was found shot in the leg Friday about 1:20 p.m. near Row 44. Investigators believe he was shot in the 1200 block of South 13th Street, just west of Hall Manor.
Anyone with information about either shooting asked to call 717-558-6900, or submit a tip on through the city police crimewatch page.