BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Burlington police are asking for the public's help in finding three men they said are behind a shooting Wednesday that put one man in the hospital.
Police said the three men approached the victim, who was sitting in his car in the parking lot near his home on Quintas Avenue around 12:30 p.m. Police said two of the suspects had handguns and shot the victim in the leg. He is in stable condition.
Police said as the shooting happened, a van full of children from the Burlington Housing Authority pre-K was nearby, about to unload the students. A spokesperson with the Burlington Housing Authority confirmed the van was in the area, but said she did not know how many children were on board.
"Had the van been five seconds earlier, a bullet could have easily gone through a window and hit a kid," said a mother who did not want to be named.
The woman said she was walking down to meet the van when she heard the gunshots and saw the victim lying on the ground.
"Once I saw him bleeding, I called 911," she said. "Then when I got my daughter off the bus, I realized they actually saw everything that happened. Like my 4-year-old told me more details than even I knew."
Terri Whitaker, the aunt of one of the other students, said she also saw and heard the commotion.
"We were sitting out here waiting on my little niece to get off the day care van," Whitaker said. "And we saw three guys fighting and I was concerned because one of them was getting jumped. Next thing we know, I heard a shot."
One local mother said violence in the area is not uncommon, but a broad daylight shooting right in front of a van full of kids is.
"My kids will not be leaving my side," she said. "The fact that these people in this community have no regard for human life, let alone the life of a child... that doesn't sit well with me."
Burlington police said they are looking for a dark grey, newer-model four-door sedan in connection with the shooting. No arrests have been made.