RIVERDALE, Md. — The quick response from community members might have saved a 14-year-old's life after he was hit by gunfire outside a laundromat in Riverdale, Maryland.
Prince George's County police say two suspects shot more than 30 rounds just before 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, towards a laundromat on 66th Avenue.
"We believe there was an individual here that might have been targeted," said police chief Malik Aziz in a joint conference with county executive Angela Alsobrooks.
Witnesses told WUSA9 that the alleged target was not struck, but a teenager who had just finished doing laundry with his mother was hit in both legs as he walked to the family vehicle, his younger siblings were inside the car.
"They don't deserve to see this happen to them, they don't deserve to see this happen to their children," said John Lopez who made the initial 911 call after the boy's mother ran into the grocery mart next door asking for help.
"I knew we had clean rags, and I just came out and I knelt next to him trying to make sure he wasn't moving too much and applied as much pressure as I could on his legs without causing too much harm until medical services came," added Lopez whose family owns the laundromat and the business next door.
The Lopez family called the victim's parents who are from Guatemala, who said that their son had been transported to a Baltimore medical center to undergo surgery on one leg and that he is expected to make a full recovery.
But the owners of the two businesses say that they have been struggling with a loitering issue since they took over the commercial space nine months ago. Lopez's mother told WUSA9 that she has done her part to deter people by installing a surveillance system, and she has even asked the groups to leave the premises.
"Here mostly come ladies, mothers with kids, parents with kids, young boys and young girls," says Mrs. Lopez about her clientele. She describes a working-class community that needs a laundromat and a grocery store in their neighborhood, but she has concerns that the recent incident and crime in the area might force people to stay home.
Prince George's County police are offering up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest in this case. Investigators have yet to detail the appearance of the suspects or a motive behind the shooting.