12-year-old girl shot in head by stray bullet inside Hempstead home

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- A 12-year-old girl was standing in front of her living room window in Hempstead when a bullet smashed through it and struck her in the head, leaving her in "grave condition" and fighting for her life, police say.

It happened around 5 p.m. Friday, near the intersection of Dartmouth Street and James L.L. Burrell Ave. Witnesses say a group of young men were firing guns outside, possibly part of a gang rivalry.

Hempstead Police say a single gunshot was fired and struck the child in her head while she was in the living room.

"I don't have to tell you the magnitude of this case," said Detective Sgt. James Skopeck at the crime scene on Dartmouth Street, near James L.L. Burrell Avenue. He called it "a very horrific situation with this twelve year old girl."

The child was transported to the hospital. Authorities are asking the public for help with the case.

"I'm pleading with the public," said Det. Sgt. Skopeck, "please come forward to help us on this investigation."

"The whole community is upset," said Lamont Johnson, the president of Hempstead Public Schools. "It shouldn't happen."

He said that on Monday, grief counselors will be on hand at the girl's school. He added, though, that it wouldn't be needed if other young people did not abuse guns.

Detectives request anyone with information regarding the above crime to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

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