Gunmen in dark clothes kicked down an apartment door in a troubled New Orleans-area neighborhood and opened fire, killing two children and a woman, authorities said.

A third child was hospitalized after the shooting around 4 a.m., and investigators were searching for suspects, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff's spokesman Col. John Fortunato.

Dominique Sterling, 19, was shot in the back; her 23-month-old son, Robert Claiborne, and a 6-year-old boy named Four Overstreet both were shot in the head, in bed.

An 11-year-old girl, also found in a bedroom, had been shot more than once. She had improved from critical condition to stable condition by Saturday evening, Fortunato said. Her name wasn't released.

Investigators found marijuana and crack cocaine in the apartment, and Four Overstreet's mother and her boyfriend both were booked on charges of possessing the drugs and contributing to juvenile delinquency because the drugs were in an apartment with children, Fortunato said.

He identified them as Rayshika Overstreet, 29, and Byron Estes, 28. Both have been arrested before on drug charges, and Estes recently got out of prison after serving time on a federal drug charge, Fortunato said.

Fortunato said both suspects used handguns and one wore a red bandanna, a black baseball cap and black hooded sweat shirt.

Rayshika Overstreet threatened to kick out the window of a squad car she was waiting in and elbowed an officer in the face when he opened the door, Fortunato said.

A second officer tried to calm her, but the officer had to stun her with a Taser after she fought with him, he said.

In addition to the drug charges, she was booked with battery on a police officer, resisting arrest by fighting and interfering with police, Fortunato said.

The shooting was in the Trianon Square neighborhood of Terrytown, a community across the Mississippi River from most of New Orleans and about six miles from the French Quarter. The neighborhood is among the more crime-ridden in the parish, Fortunato said.