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'It's not fair to kids' | 9-year-old girl shot in Woodbridge, police say

Police say the girl was flown to a hospital where she is in critical condition.

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Editor's note: A previous version of this story identified the girl as 8-year-old, but she is 9. The correction has been made. 

Police are investigating after a 9-year-old girl was shot in Woodbridge Tuesday evening.

According to a tweet from the Prince William County Police Department, the shooting happened in the 15300 block of Gatehouse Terrace. Police say the girl was shot while playing in a neighbor's front yard around 6:30 p.m.

The girl was flown to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.

Investigators believe four men had some kind of beef with a man sitting in a car nearby. At least one of the four men started shooting and missed, hitting the 9-year-old girl, who was playing with other kids who could have been hit too, according to police.

Police say the four men took off, and police are still trying to track them down. Police say the suspects may be juveniles. 

A little boy who was playing with the young girl when she was shot said they were outside playing when a group of men walked by and shooting ensued shortly after.

“We were playing tic tac toe next to my house when four Black men with black hoodies walked past. They were coming out of the park. And there was a Dodge Charger going back and forth. And then the people with the mask were looking at the Dodge Charger and then they pulled out guns and then they were shooting," the young witness said.

Surveillance video of the shooting captured the moments before and after the shooting. It appears the kids felt something was wrong before the gunshots started. A surveillance camera captured them saying they believe they saw gangsters and hiding behind a car.

The young boy said he and his friends had previously seen the men, possibly juveniles, at the park and were already fearful of them because he said they had been talking about pulling out guns.

"And then me and my friends stopped playing tic tac toe and we ran. But one of the girls that were playing with us, she got shot. And then we were all sad. And then we ran. And then her little sister was crying for her mom to come because she couldn’t feel her legs, she couldn’t stand up," said the young boy.

In the surveillance video, you can hear the young girl who was shot yelling "I can't feel my legs" over and over again.

“Once I understood who it was it’s, it’s heartbreaking. These are really good girls," Dan Patterson said. Patterson lives next door to the young girl who was shot. He said the community is like family, and everyone is hurting.

“There is nothing that makes any sense about this. There’s not like crime going on here," Patterson said. “The fact that we won’t do anything about any of these guns everywhere, we just won’t. That means they have to live with this.”

The shooting has neighbors on edge, especially coming so close to a deadly shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

"Now it's here, and it's kids I know, and that's not fair. It's not fair to kids, it's not fair to parents. These are good people," one neighbor said.

"Picture your 9-year-old in a friend's yard and some fools get out there, decide they want to settle a dispute with a gun, next thing you know, you got your child in a hospital, in surgery with a bullet wound," Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham said. "Just ridiculous."

Newsham said the 9-year-old girl was having emergency surgery at the hospital on Tuesday night. Police say the girl is in critical condition.

Anyone with information should call Prince William County Police at 703-792-7000 or online by clicking here.  

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