A woman is recovering after being shot in the back Monday night by a masked gunman in Reading.
Petra Cruz was standing in the 300 block of Bell Alley with her son when a heavyset masked man in dark clothing approached with a shotgun and opened fire, police said. One of two shots hit Cruz in the back.
"All I'm thinking is, 'Oh my gosh, is everybody OK? Is it anybody that I know?' You know, just hoping, praying to God that no one got killed or anything," said Ebonee Sanders.
Cruz, 59, was transported to Reading Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. No one else was hurt.
"It is really scary because we have a lot a kids out here, and the kids be running around outside, and there were actually children outside when everything went down," Sanders said.
Police said they are unsure of the shooter's motive.
"Almost 100 percent of the time there is a justification in their own minds, or a motivation to do what they do," said Capt. Damond Kloc, Reading Police Dept.
"It wasn't meant for her. I don't think it was meant for her," Sanders said.
Police continue to investigate another shooting right around the corner at South 6th and Spruce streets on Aug. 10. At this point they have not found a connection between the two shootings.
"Anytime we have a cluster of violence like this, we're always going to take a look at all of them and see if there are any commonalities that link them," Kloc said. "At this point, we do not have a connection to that, but we will continue to investigate that."
Meantime, people living in the area are upset.
"All I can do is pray and keep my family and friends close," said Maria Burgos.
"At nighttime, I try to stay in front of the house," Sanders said. "I try not to go anywhere because like you never know."
Police ask anyone with information about either shooting to call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913. A cash reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.