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California shooting that wounded 7 struck birthday party revelers

By Laila Kearney

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A shooting in Oakland, California, that wounded seven people on Monday evening erupted after two armed attackers approached a group of men celebrating a birthday party and opened fire, police said on Tuesday.

The shooting, which took place shortly after 6 p.m. local time, sparked chaos and left seven men ages 23 to 31 wounded.

Police offered a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Johnna Watson said in a statement. The police said there was no apparent motive for the shooting.

Oakland Police officials could not be reached for further comment.

"This is really kind of outrageous," Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent told the Oakland Tribune newspaper.

"Six o'clock isn't really that late at night. (There were) a fair number of rounds fired out here, so (this is) really pretty brazen stuff on the street corner at that time of day," Whent told the paper.

Oakland, a city of 400,000 across the bay from San Francisco, has struggled with gun street violence in recent years and recorded 131 homicides in 2012, making it one of the country's most dangerous cities.

Of those wounded in the shooting, one was listed in critical condition on Tuesday and the other six were in stable condition, police said.

According to the Tribune, witnesses described chaos as the gunfire erupted, with one of the victims struck in the neck by a bullet as he was walking with children.

A 56-year-old woman told the paper that she was walking with two friends when she heard 10 to 15 gunshots.

"A bullet went straight through my ponytail, cut right through my hair," the woman, identified only as Isabel, told the Tribune. "I hit the floor. Anytime you hear bullets, you drop. If I stood up, I might be dead."

(Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Adler)

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