A 9-year-old girl was killed and 2 boys wounded in back-to-back shootings in North Carolina. Police are now hunting for the shooters

The shootings happened Monday evening.

(CNN)A search for shooters is underway in North Carolina after a 9-year-old girl was killed and two boys wounded Monday evening in two drive-by shootings that unfolded minutes and blocks apart, the Statesville Police Department said.

"If you saw the murder of this innocent child and injuries to the other innocent children, you must help in solving these cases," police said.
The youngsters, including 7- and 10-year-old boys, are the latest victims in a surge of gun violence and murder gripping American cities. Children also have been among dozens killed or injured by gunfire nationwide over recent weekends.
      The children were not the intended targets of the shootings in Statesville, police said they believe. It wasn't immediately clear if the incidents were connected.
        Witnesses at the first shooting site said they saw someone firing from what might have been a white Mercedes, police said in a news release. Witnesses at the second site said they saw someone shooting from what might have been a white Honda Accord.
            Officers in Statesville responded around 7 p.m. to reports of a shooting and "located two children outside of the residence who suffered gunshot wounds," the release states. The girl died, while the 7-year-old boy was treated for his injuries.
            While working that crime scene, officers heard gunshots a couple blocks away, the release states. At that second site, they found the 10-year-old boy with a nonfatal gunshot wound, the release states.