American authorities are investigating whether a bullet that struck an El Paso woman as she was shopping downtown may be linked to a Ciudad Juarez shootout.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said Tuesday afternoon the bullet that hit a woman's right calf in Downtown El Paso Tuesday morning is believed to have come from Mexico.
Police said a 48-year-old woman was shopping on Overland near Oregon when her leg was "punctured" by a bullet just after 11 a.m. Tuesday. No other bullets were found at the scene and no one else was hurt.
Authorities said the woman was carrying her child in a "baby carriage" at the time she was hit. The child was not hurt and the woman is expected to be ok after being treated and released from University Medical Center.
Guillen Middle School, Aoy Elementary and Hart Elementary were put on lockdown from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Ciudad Juarez media reported a shootout between police officers and suspected car thieves around the same time the El Paso woman was hit with the bullet. The two incidents happened about a mile away from each other.
Texas state and local agencies addressed the investigation, which they are calling a "cross-border shooting" during a news conference. They said the bullet found downtown is a "standard military round."
El Paso Sheriff's Office Commander Gomecindo Lopez called the shooting "highly disturbing."
El Paso Mayor John Cook said the incident could not have been prevented and stressed authorities on the American side of the border are prepared to respond in these kinds of situations.
"The response time once we got the 911 call on this incident was under 2 minutes," said Cook. "This is another difficulty for the city of El Paso and for the border region when we're trying to highlight border violence is on a decline."
ABC-7 spoke with some shoppers near the area where the woman was hit. Some said they feared future threats from across the border while others said they did not worry about their safety and would not change their shopping habits in light of the incident.
"Personally, I love coming downtown and I feel safe on this side," said one woman.
This is not the first time that a bullet from Mexico has been fired into El Paso.
A bullet struck Bell Hall on the UTEP campus on the evening of Aug. 21, 2010. Nobody was injured and UTEP Police believe the bullet may have been related to a shootout in Juarez, Mexico that occurred at the same time. The shooting resulted in the temporary closure of Paisano Drive from Executive Center to Santa Fe Street in El Paso. One person was killed in the shootout in Juarez. There were no reported injures in El Paso.
At about 5 p.m. June 29, 2010 a bullet traveled from a shootout in Juarez through a ninth floor window of El Paso City Hall, then through an interior wall, before striking a picture frame and stopping. Further investigation revealed that the north and south stucco walls of City Hall were struck by an additional six rounds at varying heights on the walls. El Paso City Hall did not appear to be the specific target of the rounds. City employees were inside City Hall during the incident. There were no reported injuries in El Paso from the incident.