BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) -- A 3-year-old girl is still in the hospital after she was shot Monday while walking on the sidewalk with her mother.
The little girl is in stable condition. The shooting took place right across the street from Bryant Elementary School and has left parents and community members shaken.
Police say the 3-year-old was holding her mother's hand as they left a market on the corner of Maplewood Avenue and Poplar Street. Bullets started flying and the girl got caught in the gunfire. She was shot from behind. There were a lot of people in the area at the time, including many kids.
"School was getting out everyone was picking up their kids and this just came out of nowhere," said Janitza Espejo. "It was very, very devastating."
Parents who drop their kids off at the school every day were upset and angry that this could happen right outside the school.
"It could have been us," said Jennifer Morales. "Right where this happened is where I drop her off and pick her up every morning for the morning school program. It could of happened at any time of the day."
The school issued a letter to parents saying that recess was canceled and that there would be more security around the school over the next several days. Morales, whose 3.5 year old daughter is in the morning program at Bryant Elementary, says there needs to be a permanent police presence outside the school.
"I don't ever see a police officer," she said. "I see them in Stop and Shop protecting the merchandise. I see them giving out parking tickets, I see them towering over DOT workers on the street but I don't see them here in front of our school. And after what happened today, it takes a 3-year-old to get shot to finally bring a police presence into the school system? Something needs to be done."
"I think we need to get more security here for the children," agreed Lucy Torres.
Both parents want answers from school officials and city leaders about what's being done to address children's safety.
"If there is going to be a police officer present if they're going to step up to the plate and take care of our kids," said Morales. "This is just unacceptable, unacceptable."
20-year-old Anthony Small was also taken to the hospital after the shooting. Police say Small has had incidents with shootings in the past.
Just a couple months back stray bullets rang out on the same road a few blocks away.
The shooter is still on the loose. Residents say they no longer feel safe.
"This happened with a little girl, so what happens tomorrow, next week," asked Torres. "Everybody now is crazy because the news is not good for the girls. The little girls there's more trouble for the little girls."
Some residents tell News 8 there was a time when they felt safe during the day, but now they worry for their safety at all times of the day.
"How do you wake up to a world where bad things happen in broad daylight, people get shot in broad daylight, children get killed in broad daylight," Espejo asked. "How is that calming? How doesn't that make you feel that your life is in danger all the time?"
Morales says she refuses to bring her daughter back to school until she sees a police presence outside.
"Fear, really scared not knowing what to expect, not knowing whether or not I can bring my daughter back to school here," Morales said.
Police are still looking for the shooter.
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