updated 4/11/2009 11:54:22 AM ET 2009-04-11T15:54:22

Gunmen in dark clothes kicked down an apartment door in a troubled New Orleans-area neighborhood and opened fire, killing two children and a woman, authorities said.

A third child was in critical condition after the shooting around 4 a.m., and investigators were searching for suspects, said Jefferson Parish Sheriff's spokesman Col. John Fortunato.

The 19-year-old woman was shot in the back; a 23-month-old boy and a 6-year-old boy both were shot in the head, in bed.

An 11-year-old girl, also found in a bedroom, had been shot more than once and was in critical condition, Fortunato said. The victims' identities were not immediately released.

Investigators found marijuana and crack cocaine in the apartment, Fortunato said.

Fortunato said both suspects used handguns and one wore a red bandana, a black baseball cap and black hooded sweatshirt.

The shooting was in the Trianon Square neighborhood of Terrytown, a community about 10 miles southeast of New Orleans. The neighborhood is among the more crime-ridden in the parish, Fortunato said.

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