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Drive-by shooting in Lawrence causes no injuries but stirs fears

LAWRENCE — A three-family home came under a hail of gunfire early Monday in a drive-by shooting that shattered windows and lodged bullets in children’s bedroom walls and furniture, police said.

Around 2 a.m. Monday, up to 12 rounds were fired on the corner of Phillips and East Cambridge streets, according to officials. An unoccupied vehicle on East Cambridge Street and the nearby three-decker were each struck by multiple bullets. No one was harmed in the barrage.

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Police are now working to enhance surveillance video that captured footage of a person stepping out from the passenger side of a dark vehicle that stopped on Phillips Street at 1:55 a.m. The person appeared to raise his or her arms over the roof of the car, at which time shots appeared to be fired, according to police.

“At this time, we don’t know whether the car or the house was the intended target, but there are a couple of leads we are working on,” said Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero.

He asked that the exact address and tenants of the three-family home not be identified because the motive of the shooting remains unclear and residents fear retaliation. He would not say whether the owner of the targeted vehicle was a resident of the home.

One tenant told police that a bullet went through a door and lodged in the wall of her children’s bedroom. Another said a bullet went through an apartment window and lodged in a doorframe, close to where she had planned to set up bunk beds for her children.

A 17-year-old girl who lives on the third floor found a discharged bullet in her bed Monday evening. That bullet may have entered through her bedroom window above an air-conditioning unit and ricocheted off a wall into the bed, Romero said.

On Tuesday, bullet holes were noticeable in windows and wood paneling on the side of the house facing Phillips Street.

Neighbors say the summer season has brought an uptick in drug- and gang-related crime on the Phillips Street stretch, and some are concerned for their and their children’s safety.

“It is frightening this happened where there’s a school not even a thousand feet away,” said a man who declined to give his name for fear of retaliation. His children attend South Lawrence East Middle School, less than a block from the site of the shooting.

Another neighbor said she first thought the shots were the sound of fireworks from July Fourth festivities earlier that evening, but that she quickly recognized it was the sound of something more dangerous.

“I knew I was hearing gunfire; I hear that sound at least twice a week,” she said. “There are a lot of dealers and gangs in the area. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were marking their territory.”

Livi Rodriguez, 23, who lives on Phillips Street, said she was watching a movie with her boyfriend when she heard the gunshots. She moved into the residence less than two months ago, and says she has heard gunfire at least twice since.

“I’m thinking about moving again,” she said.

Alyssa A. Botelho can be reached at alyssa.botelho@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AlyssaABotelho.
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