LOS ANGELES – Police are looking for a man who opened fire in the home of an 8-year-old boy, leaving the child with a gunshot wound to the head as he slept in his bed.
Detectives also were seeking a motive for the attack that sprayed bullets through a wall into the bedroom of the Del Rey neighborhood near Venice Beach.
"According to the family, they did not recognize the suspect" and there was nothing in the house that indicated drugs or other illegal activity, Los Angeles Police Capt. Nicole Alberca said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
Police said the boy had just been put to bed about 11:55 p.m. Sunday when the father heard the unlocked security door and front door open, Sgt. Frank Preciado said.
The father had been expecting his 20-year-old son to return, but when he walked around a partial wall into the living room he saw a stranger in a gray hooded sweatshirt, Preciado said.
After words were exchanged the man pulled a gun and fired around 10 shots, none of which hit the father, who was only about 5 feet away, Preciado said.
The father then ran into the boy's bedroom and tried to shield him, while the gunman was following and shooting at the dad, Preciado said.
"He was saying, 'I've got children in my room,'" Preciado said.
Bullets plowed through the wall and the bedroom door, although it was unclear which bullets struck the boy. The lath and plaster of the wall may have slowed the bullets, Preciado added.
The boy underwent surgery for a head wound and was listed in critical but stable condition, police said.
No other family members were injured. The young victim's mother and 17-year-old brother also were in the bedroom, and the boy's grandmother was in another room, Preciado said.
Shootings are rare in the residential neighborhood, police said.
Police withheld the names of the family members but released a photo of the boy, who is shown smiling with long, wavy, golden-brown hair down to his shoulders.
Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report.