Stray bullet hits mother, 38, in eye in West Philly

A woman critically wounded when she was caught in the crossfire in dropped these bags of groceries on the sidewalk. (Morgan Zalot / Staff)

This post has been updated.

Two bags of groceries she dropped marked the West Philadelphia corner where a 38-year-old mother of two young boys collapsed to the pavement after she was hit in the left eye by a stray bullet Thursday night.

She was just steps away from her home on Master Street near Hobart when shots rang out around 9:15 p.m., police said. The woman, who investigators said has sons ages 10 and 12, was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania by police, where she was listed in critical condition.

She had been walking back from buying bread and other groceries from a corner store at 59th and Master when she was shot, Chief Inspector Scott Small said at the scene.

"It's a shame. She almost got home," Small said.

He said a handful of people were standing on the corner where the woman fell, and surveillance video from the corner store she had left moments before showed them scattering, some running west on Master, when gunfire erupted.

Police recovered five spent .40- or .45-caliber shell casings about a half-block from where the victim was hit, at the intersection of Master and Wanamaker streets. Shards of black glass from the shot-out back driver's side window of a school van parked on Master Street at the time of the shooting dotted the street.

Police were on the scene around 10:30 p.m. reviewing the corner store’s surveillance footage to gather information on the suspects. Small said a surveillance system at a daycare on the corner of Master and Hobart may have also recorded the incident.

Police were looking for three men in connection with the incident, one of whom wore a gray hooded sweatshirt. No additional descriptions on the suspects were immediately available, but Small said ballistic evidence indicated that there was only one shooter.

Cops were unsure what led to the shooting, and no arrests had been made Thursday night.

"There's not too much you can say, but it's sad," said a young man who declined to give his name as he watched from a porch across the street as police cleared the scene. "Hopefully she'll make it."

The woman was conscious when she arrived at the hospital, according to investigators, and was expected to survive.