ANAHEIM – A man believed to be the driver of a vehicle that struck a 3-year-old girl while leaving a drive-by shooting is in custody as the child remains at the hospital Wednesday, authorities said.
Anaheim police arrested Pedro Avila, 20, of Anaheim on Tuesday night at Harbor Boulevard and La Palma Avenue, said Anaheim Sgt. Bob Dunn.
Dunn said witnesses’ descriptions of the vehicle led police to Avila, who was driving a silver Mitsubishi and carrying a handgun.
Police suspect Avila was involved in an attempted drive-by shooting who then struck and seriously injured the child while speeding out of an Anaheim apartment complex.
The 3-year-old girl was in critical condition Tuesday night and was expected to survive, Dunn said.
Officers responded shortly after 8 p.m. to reports of a vehicle striking a pedestrian near Neighbors and Onondaga avenues, Dunn said.
While authorities were responding to the area, police received additional reports of shots fired in the 1800 block of Neighbors Avenue, Dunn said.
Police found the girl, who had been seriously injured after she was struck by a vehicle. Witnesses described the vehicle as a dark, compact car.
Witnesses told police that the vehicle had been involved in a drive-by shooting before speeding through an alley and out of the apartment complex. The girl apparently was struck in the alley as the car drove away.
Authorities have not located anyone who was struck by the gunfire.
“We are investigating it as possibly being gang-related,” Dunn said of the shooting.
By ALEJANDRA MOLINA and SEAN EMERY/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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