A city Water Department employee was wounded by a stray bullet after gunfire erupted in North Philadelphia yesterday morning, police said.

The shooting happened on the 700 block of West Huntingdon Street. Loretta Palmer, 55, and a partner were cleaning a sewer when they heard gunshots shortly before 11 a.m., said Jeff Gilliam, business agent for Palmer's union, Local 394 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The two workers took cover behind their truck, but one of the bullets struck Palmer.

She was in stable condition yesterday at Temple University Hospital, Gilliam said.

"She's in a whole lot of pain," Gilliam said. "We're just thankful it wasn't worse." The workers did not see the gunman, Gilliam said. - Allison Steele