Detectives were still following leads but had not publicly identified any suspects Tuesday, a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) spokesman told The Epoch Times.
A 30-year-old woman and a 9-year-old girl were also shot during the incident that occurred around 4:45 p.m. They were taken to the hospital where they were treated for their wounds and listed in stable condition, according to media reports.
The Los Angeles County coroner identified the boy as Alexander Alvarado, 12, who died after he was taken to the hospital.
Alvarado was sitting in an SUV across from the school at the corner of East Denni Street and North Eubank Avenue in Wilmington. He was with the woman who was also shot, according to police.
The woman fled in her car to North Eubank Avenue near East Anaheim Street, where she and the boy were later found by authorities, police said.
Alvarado and the woman were approached by two armed suspects, who fired an unknown number of shots at them. The girl was standing on the elementary school playground and was struck by a stray bullet.
Police do not have information about the motive of the shooting.
“The vehicle is riddled with bullets,” LAPD Captain Adrian Gonzales told reporters following the shooting. “We are still processing the scene but we do believe at this point we have two people who shot.”
A 9-year-old girl was a random victim, playing in the schoolyard when she was struck by one of the bullets, Gonzales said.
“She was in the schoolyard just playing, just doing what a 9-year-old girl was supposed to do. Just innocently, unknowingly.”
One of the girl’s friends, Evalina Garcia, 9, of Wilmington, told ABC7, “I’m just wondering if my friend’s all right because I know her sisters and her brothers and her cousins. They come to this school too.”
Counselors were at the school Tuesday, according to media reports.
Questions about the school’s response that were sent to the Los Angeles Unified School District were not returned by press time.
LAPD could not confirm if officers had extra patrols in the school area Tuesday but it wouldn’t be uncommon, according to an LAPD spokesman.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who also represents Wilmington and is running for mayor, said in a statement that the city needed to become better equipped to protect its “most vulnerable.”
“Our parks and playgrounds should be safe havens for families and today they became a parent’s worst nightmare. No one should be a victim of violence, especially children. Los Angeles must become a city better equipped to protect our most vulnerable, and a city better equipped to hold to account those who would commit such heinous acts,” he said.
Buscaino was working on a resolution to introduce at Wednesday’s regularly scheduled council meeting, calling for the end of a “zero bail” rule passed during the COVID-19 pandemic, his spokesman told The Epoch Times.