Updated 04/02/14 – 12:46 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police were searching for the person responsible for shooting a woman and her two grandsons, ages 3 and 5, in the South Shore neighborhood Tuesday night.

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CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the children and their grandmother were not believed to have been the intended targets.

Officers on patrol near 78th Street and Kingston Avenue heard shots fired around 8 p.m., and found 51-year-old Eileen Atwood and her 5-year-old grandson Kamari Anthony had been shot. A short time later, they discovered her 3-year-old grandson Kayden Carlvin also had been shot. The three were walking to a relative’s house when someone opened fire.

Neighbors who heard the shooting said gunfire is much too common in the area.

Quenica Thorenton said she heard five or six shots fired outside her kitchen window.

“This is really, really close to home, so it’s terrible,” she said. “The violence over here is ridiculous.”

Julia Reed said there’s a lot of shooting and drug activity in the community.

“It’s like a war zone over here,” she said. “Nobody to raise them, or they would know you don’t do things like that. I mean it’s kids and a lady. It’s just me and my daughter, so I was like, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to wear body armor out here.’”

Gail “Sue” Simms, who was with the three at the time, said Atwood was walking to her daughter’s house with her grandsons when the shots rang out.

“All we heard was gunshots,” Simms said. “She got to screaming ‘Ow! We’ve been shot! I’ve been shot! Sue, I’ve been shot!’ So I laid her down.”

Simms said she pushed the boys toward the alley, because she wasn’t sure if someone was still shooting.

Simms said the shots came out of nowhere. One second she was walking with Atwood and the two boys, the next she was on the ground next to her friend. Police arrived within seconds.

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A neighbor said while Simms stayed next Atwood, she took the boys to her car.

“I didn’t want them to see their grandmother like that, and I didn’t want them to be cold, so I put them in the back seat of my car,” she said.

Then she noticed Kamari had been shot in the stomach, and was not moving. Authorities said the he had suffered a through-and-through gunshot wound, and was taken to the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital.

Atwood grandmother was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to her thigh.

The neighbor said no one knew the Kayden also had been shot until he told her “I need a Band-Aid! I need a Band-Aid! I’m scared! I’m scared!”

That’s when she looked down and saw Kayden had been shot in the shoulder. An officer picked up the 3-year-old and took him to an unmarked police car, which rushed him to La Rabida Children’s Hospital. He was later transferred to Comer.

“That really was in my dreams all day, hearing him talk,” she said.

Simms said she doesn’t think whoever fired the shots was aiming at them.

“They just shoot. It’s a bad neighborhood,” she said.

Witnesses said they believe the gunmen ran down an alley after firing the shots.

The two boys were in stable condition Wednesday morning. The boys are cousins. Both mothers were at the hospital with their sons.

Their grandmother was in fair condition at Northwestern.

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Police don’t know what led to the shooting, but said they don’t believe the victims were the intended targets. No one was in custody early Wednesday.