Boy, 12, Killed When Gunmen Fire Dozens of Bullets Into SUV Near School in 'Brazen Assault'

A 12-year-old boy was killed and his stepmother wounded when gunmen fired dozens of times at an SUV outside an elementary school in what police described as a "brazen assault."

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said that the attack seemed "purposeful," but that it was not yet clear what spurred the shooting near Wilmington Park Elementary School on Monday afternoon.

"This was a brazen assault in the middle of the day that, whether it was targeted in a pre-emptive manner or a premeditated manner or spontaneous, I just know that the amount of violence was just ... It just boggles your mind when you think about an afternoon outside of a school," Moore said.

Moore said that there were at least two attackers involved and at least one "very powerful" gun. A 9-year-old girl who wasn't inside the SUV was also wounded Monday afternoon.

Moore believes that a stray bullet from the volley fired by the attackers hit her in the back while she was on the nearby school's playground for an after-school program. Police did not immediately release details on the conditions of the wounded stepmother and girl.

Los Angeles Unified School District officials said that almost 60 children were on the Wilmington campus at the time of the shooting, KCAL 9 reported. The LAPD and community leaders held a vigil Tuesday to honor the victims and protest gun violence.

LAPD Chief
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore described a Monday shooting that killed a 12-year-old boy as “purposeful,” but said that it was not yet clear what spurred the attack outside Wilmington Park Elementary School. Moore speaks outside the LAPD headquarters, with members of the "Safe LA Task Force" on Aug. 26, 2020. Stefanie Dazio/AP Photo

The Los Angeles County coroner on Tuesday identified the boy as 12-year-old Alexander Alvarado. Authorities initially said the boy was 13.

He was shot in the head, Moore said, while his stepmother was shot in the stomach but was able to drive away to safety. The boy's 10-year-old brother was in the SUV's backseat and wasn't wounded.

Alexander "was very innocent, very sweet and loving child," said his mother, Jenny Romero.

"It's the worst news a mother could ever get. The worst. I went crazy," Romero told KCBS-TV.

Romero said her wife was picking up the boy's brother from an after-school program when a teenager suddenly appeared and opened fire on the car, wounding the woman.

"She said it came so quick. She didn't even know what to do, she just stepped on that gas pedal real quick, but it was too late," Romero said.

Romero said she had no clue why someone would want to hurt her family.

The conditions of the stepmother and the girl weren't immediately released.

No arrests had been made and Moore said he didn't have a description of the attackers.

However, "easily" dozens of bullets were fired and that indicates that the attack was purposeful, the chief said.

Moore said the shooting highlighted an increase in gun violence in the city over the past couple of years. The chief said 27 people were shot in the city in the past week, including 19 over the weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

LA Shooting
A 12-year-old boy was killed and his stepmother wounded when gunmen fired dozens of times into an SUV in what Los Angeles police described as a “brazen assault.” A police vehicle is seen in Philadelphia on June 24, 2021. Matt Rourke/AP Photo