Gunfire Strikes Van Taking Choir Kids Home from Practice

The shots were coming from a fight down the street, authorities said

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A church van taking children home from choir practice was hit by gunfire in New Jersey after a fight broke out down the block, church officials and authorities said. Brian Thompson reports.

    A church van taking children home from choir practice was hit by gunfire in New Jersey after a fight broke out down the block, church officials and authorities said.

    The van was just pulling away from Mount Pisgah AME church in Jersey City on Tuesday night, carrying 16 kids ages 7 and up, when a bullet struck the windshield.

    The driver screeched to a stop, and with the help of the church custodian, ushered all of the children out of the van and into the church. No one was hurt, "by the grace of God," said Rev. Reginald McRae.

    One 11-year-old passenger, whose father did not want her name used, told NBC 4 New York the children scrambled to get away from the shots.

    "We thought there were going to be some more shots, so we had to duck, and got under the seats," she said. "And everybody just started crying and screaming."

    Police said 1o to 12 shots were fired by two people in a dispute that had erupted on Forrest Street down the block. Jersey City Police Chief Thomas Comey said it was a gang fight with three or four people involved.

    Sandra Moss, a trustee who lives four doors down from the church, said she heard the shots and thought the noise was from firecrackers. She said she then heard people scream "Get down, get down, get out, get down."

    Later, after families were notified to come pick up their kids, she said she watched as they came up the street.

    "Parents were running to get their children," Moss said.

    One arrest has been made in the gunfight. Authorities are investigating.

    Meanwhile McRae said he has asked the children to come back to the church Wednesday night for counseling about what happened.

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