A copy machine is all that stood between a shootout involving teenage gang members and potential tragedy in Parkland on Monday.
One person was injured when rival gang members opened fire at the McDonald’s on the 11000 block of Pacific Avenue shortly after noon, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department reported. A 15-year-old boy was shot in the hand and is being treated at the hospital, department spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Two stray bullets traveled across the thoroughfare and struck the Titus-Will Chevrolet dealership.
“We’re really lucky … that more random people didn’t get hit,” Troyer said.
There was at least one close call. One bullet went through the glass front of the dealership, ricocheted off a copy machine and eventually fell into the children’s play area, said Trevor Will, the dealership’s general manager.
A receptionist was sitting on the other side of the copy machine, he said.
“If it had not hit the copy machine, it probably would have hit her,” Will said. “She’s pretty thankful today.”
The receptionist, who declined interview requests, still managed to finish her shift.
“She didn’t want to go home,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing, but Troyer said authorities believe the shooting involved two groups of rival gang members between the ages of 13 and 16 years old. He said a total of between eight and 10 gang member were involved, firing a total of between eight and 10 rounds from two, and possibly three, weapons. One of the weapons was a high-caliber handgun and another possibly is a rifle based on the shell casings found at the scene; no weapons have been recovered, Troyer said.
Troyer said the “strongest theory” is that one of the gangs set up a meeting with the other gang intending to ambush them.
“This was not random other than they picked a really bad spot,” the sheriff’s spokesman said.
There are no arrests yet, but investigators have detained suspects and are interviewing witnesses at multiple locations, Troyer said. He said the victim and his friends are being uncooperative.
“We know who all the players are and what happened,” Troyer said. “It’s just going to take some time to unravel it.”
UPDATE: A woman who answered the phone at the Parkland McDonald’s at 4:45 said the restaurant will reopen in “about one more hour.”
The McDonald’s manager on duty declined to comment about the shooting.
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