Kareem Dacres had finished up Christmas dinner tonight and was ready to walk his girlfriend, Diandra DeJesus, to her car.

But as the two, who are high school sweethearts, according to Diandra's sister Jasmine, were walking toward Dacres' red Chevrolet Impala on Pike Street near 17th just before 6 p.m., someone approached them.

The unknown man pulled out a handgun and started blasting, the gunfire cutting through the calm of the early evening as other families on that Nicetown block were sitting down to meals of their own.

After being hit several times in his torso and legs, Dacres, 22, dove for cover underneath his nearby Impala, Jasmine DeJesus said.

It was there that police found the victim and took him to nearby Temple University Hospital, Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

He remains there tonight in stable condition, Small said, and is being interviewed by detectives from Northwest Division. His girlfriend, despite being just feet away from him during the shooting, was not injured and is also talking with investigators.

Back on Pike Street, six shell casings caught the light of the twinkling Christmas displays in nearby windows. Families, eager to see the source of the violence, peaked from behind living-room curtains as investigators combed the crime scene.

Small said there's no information on a motive, but DeJesus attributed the violence to "general drama" in the neighborhood.

"It's tragic, especially on Christmas" she said. "Whoever did this is careless, just shooting in the open like that."

Investigators believe Dacres was the intended target of the violent attack.

The only description available on the shooter is that he's a "short man" believed to be in his late teens or early 20s, who was wearing a dark jacket during the attack, Small said.

Tipsters can call 215-686-8477.