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John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

A seven-year-old boy was struck with a stray bullet from a targeted shooting outside his Oshawa home late on Thursday night.

Staff-Sergeant Colin Shaw of Durham Regional Police said the boy and the other victim, a 23-year-old man, suffered minor injuries. Both are expected to be out of the hospital soon.

The man is believed to have been the intended target of the attack, which was witnessed by several people. The older victim is "not talking to police at all," Staff-Sgt. Shaw said.

The boy was inside his home in a townhouse complex in a residential neighbourhood near Oshawa's downtown core. The complex is flanked by a cancer treatment centre and an apartment building.

A witness who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution said she was walking down the street with other family members of the boy when they saw the shooter across the street.

"He's walking very quickly, he seems angry. He swiftly went across the road . . . and just bang, bang, bang. And then screaming. 'What have you done?'

"There was no place for me to run, I just kind of crouched. And after he came running around here . . . I booted after him. I want to see where he's going, because these are my friends."

Kathy Curran, who lives in the apartment building, was walking her dog when she heard shots.

She said she ran into the building to protect herself, but later returned outside, where the injured child's father was pacing back and forth as emergency crews arrived.

"We asked him if he was alright," Ms. Curran said, "and he said yes, but that it was his son [who] was shot. And he made some phone calls and that was it."

The boy lives with his mother and older sister, according to the witness who would not give her name, and his eldest sister and her child live in the building next door.

"From the witnesses we've spoken to and the information we've gathered," Staff-Sgt. Shaw said, "we're pretty confident that the shooter came to deal with the [23 year-old male] that was actually shot, and the seven year-old was unfortunately the victim of a stray shot."

The shooter was described as a black male in his early 20s with a solid build, wearing a black or blue hooded sweatshirt, grey track pants and a cornrow hairstyle.

The police would not release further details of the investigation.

Oshawa Mayor John Henry said he believes the shooting is part of a national problem with illegal guns.

"[Attacks are] happening so often that [across Canada we] seem to accept it," he said. "It's not an Oshawa story. The story is it happened in Oshawa today, but it happens everyday . . . in other parts of this country."