A little boy was rushed to the hospital by deputies after he was struck by gunfire in a gang-related shooting in the unincorporated East Compton area shortly before noon Wednesday, authorities said.
Deputies from the Compton Sheriff's Station responded to the area of Compton Boulevard and Lime Avenue about 11:42 a.m., according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
When they arrived, they found a child who had been hit by gunfire in the upper torso, the release stated. They placed the child in their patrol car and rushed him to a hospital.
He went into surgery and was in critical condition, Deputy Ryan Rouzan said. A sheriff's news release later indicated the child was stable.
At a brief news conference on scene, Rouzan described two black men and three Hispanic men getting into a confrontation that escalated into a physical fight. One of the Hispanic men pulled out a firearm and opened fire on the black men, who ran westbound, Rouzan said.
The little boy – between the ages of 2 and 4 – was struck by a stray bullet, the deputy said. Authorities initially believed the boy was hit in crossfire, Rouzan said.
Witnesses told KTLA they heard about five to six gunshots.
The child was with his mother, riding in the back seat of a sedan that was going westbound on Compton Boulevard when he was struck.
At the scene at Atlantic Avenue and Compton Boulevard, a green SUV had a shattered passenger-side rear window. The two people inside that vehicle were not injured, authorities said.
The shooting occurred a block away in front of a liquor store on the corner at Lime Avenue, Rouzan said. Evidence markers were placed in front of the store, which is across from a child development center. East Rancho Dominguez Park is also nearby.
As deputies searched for the men involved, "an active crime scene containment" was in effect in the surrounding area. Residents in the area were told to shelter in place, including via an announcement from a sheriff's loudspeaker. Deputies could be seen surrounding an apartment building.
One male was handcuffed and placed in a deputy's vehicle, video from the scene showed. Another person was also seen being taken into custody in the area. The two people are believed to be related to the crime and may end up being considered suspects, Rouzan said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Compton Sheriff's Station at 310-605-6500. Anonymous tips can also be left by dialing "Crime Stoppers" at 800-222-8477.
KTLA's Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.