Minneapolis police are investigating a series of shootings that left seven young people wounded in north Minneapolis earlier this week.
Police say the incidents -- which occurred within a seven-hour period -- were not related. But officials suspect that in some cases the victims and shooters knew each other.
Among the wounded was a 4-year-old girl, who police say suffered a small wound to her neck from a pellet gun. The girl was hospitalized, but her condition is not known.
In a separate incident, an 8-year-old boy was struck in the head by a plastic bullet.
Inspector Mike Martin of the Fourth Precinct says prosecutors may charge these cases differently because of the weapon involved, but the police treat them as seriously as any shooting call.
"Anything that shoots a projectile that could possibly kill or seriously injure someone is going to be treated like a firearm. Especially if it resembles a firearm," he said.
Martin said the North Side has seen a slight increase over last year in the number of shootings.
"But we are still down compared to two years ago. And we're not seeing a dramatic increase in the number of shootings -- as a matter of fact our sense is they're down -- and we've done a lot of things to put a lot of things in place," Martin said.
Martin said one way shootings have been reduced over the years is by increasing the number of illegal guns police confiscate. One investigation has already led to the recovery of several firearms, he said.