PLAINFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police continued their search Friday for a suspect who opened fire on a Plainfield street on Thursday afternoon.
One of the bullets struck 5-year-old Jasir Gibbson in the face around 4 p.m. near the corner of Plainfield Avenue and South Second Street.
The boy’s mother, Shenta Ford, was walking with her son as the incident occurred. A grief-stricken Ford spoke with reporters, including CBS 2′s John Slattery, and tried to explain what happened.
“He was walking from school, just wanted to get him a Reese’s cup and they started shooting and I moved him,” Ford tearfully said.
The stray bullet went through the boy’s mouth and lodged in his throat, City Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig said.
The boy was rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Authorities said they believe the boy was not a target.
“We believe he was in the way,” Hellwig said.
“[Ford] told me she was walking up from…where the school was and the guy was walking down the street and he just pulled out the gun and started shooting,” said cousin Tai Spencer. “He’s a really good kid. He’s very smart, he’s very active and outgoing. He love to be outside and play.”
Police said there were multiple shots. Some neighbors said they heard seven to 10. One neighbor said she saw the gunman leave the scene.
“I seen the guy running,” said neighbor Nancy Carey, who added the suspect “threw the gun over the fence” as he fled.
But police would not say if they recovered a weapon from the scene.
“This is a tragedy of epic proportions, especially as we look around at what’s happening in America right now, in our cities,” Hellwig said.
Police don’t have a very good description of the gunman who sprayed the bullets. A $5,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
The little boy is believed to be the youngest shooting victim in the history of Plainfield.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Union County TIPS line at 908-654-8477.
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