OAKLAND -- A 2-year-old boy was shot Friday afternoon when a gunbattle broke out as the child was playing outside his East Oakland home a few blocks away, police said.
The boy, who was hit in his torso, was in critical but stable condition and undergoing surgery Friday afternoon at Children's Hospital Oakland. His name was not released.
Four other children and four adults who were also outside the home in the 9200 block of Sunnyside Street were not injured.
"All you heard was shots," said a 25-year-old Oakland woman who was holding the victim's 8-month-old brother, and did not want her name used for fear of retaliation. "When we got in the house we all laid on the floor and we saw blood and we were all trying to see where it came from and it came from the (2-year-old)."
The shooting happened about 1 p.m., when two groups apparently engaged in a shootout in the 9400 block of Sunnyside Street, police said.
No arrests were reported.
The shooting happened in a neighborhood where the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently launched an initiative to improve the lives of babies and young children.
The mission of the 7-by-12 block "Best Babies Zone" near Castlemont High School is to give every child raised there "the best chance in life," and includes setting up a new hub for children to play and their parents to take classes.
Violence, while not the initiative's focus, has been one of Castlemont families' most pressing concerns, an Alameda County public health official said at a meeting earlier this week.
Between 2005 and 2010, there were more homicides in the small neighborhood than in the combined cities of Berkeley, El Cerrito, Emeryville and San Leandro, according to a report by First Five Alameda County.
A neighbor who was in the group, who also did not want her name used, said: "There's a lot of violence in the neighborhood, but who would have thought on this beautiful day this would have happened? They were also just outside enjoying the weather."
Another neighbor, Regina Anderson, was inside her home when she heard several gunshots and soon learned the little boy was wounded.
"It is just real sad," she said.
Staff writer Matt O'Brien contributed to this report. Contact Harry Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at Twitter.com/harryharris15. Reach Kristin J. Bender at email@example.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.