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An 8-year-old boy was shot today as he was riding his bike in North Philly, police said.

And, hours later, not much else is clear about the incident.

Just after 5 p.m., police were notified by the staff of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children that an 8-year-old boy had been dropped off by his family with a gunshot wound to his left shoulder, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The boy's family told police that he been shot sometime before 3:30 p.m. as he was riding his bike near his home on Orianna Street near Cumberland, Small said.

But when police arrived at that location, they found no sign of violence.

No spent shell casings, no blood, not even the boy's discarded bicycle.

It quickly became apparent that there were some holes in the story: The family members at St. Christopher's gave conflicting accounts, Small said, and couldn't even agree as to who drove the boy to the hospital.

Tonight, as detectives from East Division continue to interview the family members, police are searching both that stretch of Orianna Street as well as a home on Palethorp Street near Huntingdon where other members of the boy's family live.

Meanwhile, the boy is in stable condition, despite the fact that the bullet is still lodged in his shoulder, Small said.

As for why he was shot, that, too, remains unclear. But investigators are confident that he was simply caught in the crossfire of a dispute he had nothing to do with.

"Eight-year-old boys are not usually the intended targets of a shooting," Small said.