PUBLISHED: 00:47 EST, 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 06:45 EST, 26 June 2012
What started out as a peaceful first day of camp in Washington, DC, was marred by gun violence when two young boys and their chaperone were caught in crossfire on their way to lunch on Monday.
A seven-year-old boy was shot in the right shoulder, an eight-year-old was struck in the right ankle, and a camp counselor was wounded in his left thigh as he led a group of 30 children to safety, according to police. All three are expected to recover.
According to the Washington Examiner, the victims were apparently hit by stray bullets that were fired by one man on another.
Innocent: Two young children and their summer camp counselor were caught in crossfire on their way to lunch
Gun fight: Police said a man opened fire on another man, shooting as many as 11 bullets as he ran toward a group of 30 kids
The gunman opened fire at his target as he ran toward the children in the 1900 block of Savannah Street South East, police said.
According to authorities, as many as 11 shots were made. They do not believe the children or the counselor were the intended targets.
Both the shooter and the man whom he tried to gun down remain at large. Police are searching for a black heavy-set man wearing a white T-shirt, possibly sporting a ponytail.
The shooting occurred shortly after noon as a group of children between the ages of six and 12 were walking in line and singing as they headed to lunch at a federal funded meals program at the Villages of Parklands housing project.
Hero: Witnesses said the counselor tried to shield the children from the bullets with his body despite being wounded
Lunchtime drama: The children were on their way to a free meals program for needy kids that kicked off on Monday in Washington, DC
Monday was the first day of the three-month DC Free Summer Meals Program available to low-income children around the city.
As many as 100 kids were at the Villages of Parklands camp at the time of the shooting, the television station WUSA9 reported.
Most of the group lived in the Orchard Park neighborhood. The counselor, identified as Vance Paige, was a local minister and long-time community activist helping the unemployed.
Manhunt launched: Police are seeking both the gunman and the man he was targeting, who remain at large
Witnesses on the scene said despite being wounded himself, Paige tried to shield the children from the volley of bullets with his body.
‘I’m so afraid,’ Angela Agnew, holding her one-year-old grandson, told the Examiner. ‘It’s terrible. You can’t bring your kids outside without worrying about getting killed.’
WUSA9 reported that the wounded boys were taken to Children’s Hospital, where they are being treated for their injuries.