LOS ANGELES (AP) A gunman fired into a crowd of children and adults at a South Los Angeles bus stop just after schools let out Wednesday, wounding eight, authorities said.

Three girls, ages 10, 11 and 12, and a 49-year-old woman were in stable condition and were expected to recover, police Lt. Ruben De La Torre said. A 12-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and two men, ages 48 and 68, had minor injuries.

The gunman ran away, and streets in the area were shut down as police officers rushed in.

Ezequiel Cornejo, 23, a tire mechanic, said he heard about 10 gunshots, probably from a handgun, just after neighborhood schools let out.

"After that I saw a little girl running, she was running back to the school, she was holding her arm," he said.

The shooting occurred around 3:15 p.m. at Central and Vernon avenues. Two of the victims ran away and were found wounded outside a nearby middle school, police Officer Sara Faden said.

It wasn't immediately clear what led to the shooting.

Some witnesses said the gunman stepped off a bus and started firing at the crowd. Others said they saw two men arguing at a Jack In the Box restaurant behind the bus stop, and said one man fired on the other when he stepped outside.

It was the second major outburst of street violence in the city in a week's span.

Gang-related shootings carried out in broad daylight in the city's northeast area on Feb. 21 led to a gunbattle in which police killed one gunman, wounded another and swarmed a neighborhood with heavily armed officers.

Police said the gunbattle involved members of a notorious gang entrenched in that area for decades.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.