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Shooting wounds boy outside school

By Associated Press
Published February 12, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - An 8-year-old boy was shot in the face on a school playground Wednesday and a crossing guard was wounded, caught apparently in the crossfire between two groups of men, police said.

Children were arriving for class and some were playing in the schoolyard when dozens of shots rang out about 8:30 a.m., police said. Youngsters ran screaming toward the building as teachers and parents frantically tried to pull them inside to safety.

Police searched for the gunmen and a gray Lincoln Continental.

The third-grader, Faheem Thomas-Childs, underwent brain surgery and was reported in extremely critical condition. The crossing guard, Debra Smith, 56, was treated for a wound to the right foot.

The victims apparently were caught in the crossfire as two men in a car and three men on the sidewalk shot at each other, police said.

The shooting occurred near the T.M. Peirce Elementary School in North Philadelphia, a section of the city where drugs and crime are common.

The school was locked down, though parents were permitted to pick up their children.

[Last modified February 12, 2004, 01:00:30]

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