msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 5/24/2011 11:30:57 AM ET 2011-05-24T15:30:57

A 2-year-old boy died after he was shot Monday night as his uncle held him outside a home in South Los Angeles, police said.

The uncle, estimated to be between 20 and 30 years of age,also was shot and was hospitalized in critical condition, LAPD officer Rosario Herrera told msnbc.com.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The pair were on a porch in the backyard when the shooting occurred, Herrera said. Police say they were unintended targets of random gunfire — hit by bullets that pierced a car and a fence before striking them.

The shooting occurred about 8:30 p.m. Monday on East 55th Street, Herrera said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that both the toddler and the uncle were shot in the head, but Herrera told msnbc.com that they sustained gunshot wounds to the upper torso.

Los Angeles officer Karen Rayner said nearby residents reported hearing multiple gunshots.

Officers on Tuesday asked for the public's help in finding the killer or killers.

The victims' names have not been released. Police have no suspects, but an investigation is ongoing, Rayner said.

The Times reported that there have been more than 45 homicides within one mile of the home since January 1, 2007.

Msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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