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7-Year-Old Wounded By Stray Bullet in Her New Neighborhood

April 8, 1994

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ Seven-year-old Ariana Mercado moved to West Myrtle Street this week and the neighbor kids showed her how to hide behind cars to dodge stray bullets.

Ariana was shot in the arm Thursday in a drive-by shooting while she stood on the sidewalk with a bicycle. A boy was shot in the leg. Neither was seriously injured.

Then, while Ariana she was on the way to a hospital, someone stole her bike.

Ariana, whose family moved in Monday, was one of a half-dozen children playing outside when the shots were fired from a passing car. At least one person on the street shot back.

Police said the shooting was gang-related. There were no immediate arrests.

Residents said say gang activity is on the rise in the area.

″We can’t have faith the children will be safe outside,″ said Lucia Martinez, who shares a two-bedroom apartment with her husband, their two children, Ariana and her mother, Ariana’s aunt and a family friend.

″They don’t care who they hit when they’re out fighting,″ Martinez said. ″They just shoot.″

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