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Calif. dad of slain girl unsure why home targeted

NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. (AP) – A devastated father says he has no idea why gunmen targeted his house over the weekend, firing a barrage of bullets that instantly killed his 10-year-old daughter as she watched television from a chair near the front picture window.

With his own wounded arm in a sling, Ernesto Campos came to look for his wallet Monday in a house whose front was scarred by at least a dozen bullet holes. Blood soaked the carpet and front porch, and the stuffing was blown out of the chair where his daughter, Elvira, had been sitting Saturday night.

“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Campos told The Associated Press when asked why someone would target his home 11 miles from downtown Sacramento. “Somebody came here from another place. I don’t know.”

Both Campos and his wife, Imelda, suffered minor physical wounds, and both are too distraught to return to the home in a tidy working class neighborhood populated with young families with children.

Sacramento County sheriff’s officials suspected that a family member had gang ties. A 14-year-old brother was at home at the time of the shooting and a 20-year-old was away. Another brother who is 23 lives in the Mexican state of Michoacan, where the family came from 23 years ago.

“They just don’t want to be here. It’s too sad for them,” said Alejandra Vega, who has a daughter with the Campos’ 23-year-old son.

Vega described Elvira as a happy child who was always smiling, just as she was in a portrait framed on top of the television where the family had gathered Saturday night.

Authorities were searching for at least two gunmen whom they believed walked up to the front of the house and opened fire.

“Whoever these gunmen were, they were directly outside the front door,” Sacramento County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jason Ramos said Sunday.

At least a dozen shots were fired from two guns.

“This was not a drive-by. These gunmen approached the house and shot inside,” Ramos said.

“You have to be hard pressed to think a 10-year-old girl was the intended target.”

The family had lived in the home for less than a year. They are now staying with relatives and are afraid for their faces to be shown.

Sheriff’s officials were also investigating a separate shooting Sunday morning that took place not far from the home. The victim of that shooting _ a 32-year-old man who survived _ was “definitely a gang member” and detectives were looking at the possibility the shootings were related, Ramos said.


Associated Press writer John Marshall contributed to this report from San Francisco.

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