A gunman fired into a crowd of children and adults at a South Los Angeles bus stop Wednesday, wounding eight, authorities said. Four were in critical condition.

The shooting occurred around 3:15 p.m. at Central and Vernon avenues. Two of the victims ran away and were found wounded outside a nearby middle school, police Officer Sara Faden said.

The gunman ran away after firing the shots, she said.

The critically wounded were a 10-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl and a 49-year-old woman, said Fire Department spokeswoman d'Lisa Davies.

A 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and two men, ages 48 and 68, had minor injuries.

Streets in the area were shut down, with numerous police officers present. Authorities issued various revisions of the incident from the chaotic scene.

Ezequiel Cornejo, 23, a tire mechanic, said he heard about 10 gunshots, probably from a handgun, just after neighborhood schools let out.

"After that I saw a little girl running, she was running back to the school, she was holding her arm," he said.

It was the second major outburst of street violence in the city in a week's span.

Gang-related shootings carried out in broad daylight in the city's northeast area on Feb. 21 led to a gunbattle in which police killed one gunman, wounded another and swarmed a neighborhood with heavily armed officers who captured a third suspect.

Police said the gunbattle involved members of a notorious gang entrenched in that area for decades.

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