Her hands shaking uncontrollably, Lillie Reese said she was just about to walk outside when a barrage of shots hit her son and the nephew he was cradling on a front stoop in the 1700 block of Laharpe Street in the 7th Ward about 5 p.m. Tuesday.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison described the assailants as two men who parked a gray Infiniti at the corner, walked up to the victims, briefly exchanged words with the man and then began shooting.

The adult victim, 39, was in surgery at a hospital, and his condition was not immediately known. Relatives said the toddler, 2, was shot in the leg and his injury did not appear to be life-threatening.

Flanked by Deputy Chief Bob Bardy and 1st District Cmdr. Otha Sandifer at the scene, Harrison called the shooting “absolutely senseless” and “very cowardly” and promised to find the perpetrators.

“This is absolutely ridiculous that they would, No. 1, shoot at anyone, then shoot at someone holding a child,” Harrison said. “So we’re taking it very personally.”

About 45 minutes after the shooting, Harrison stopped to comfort Reese, who was wearing a white cap and puffing nervously on a cigarette.

This is not the first time her family has been victimized by violence. Her great-niece Jasmine Anderson, 16, was killed last August in a Lower 9th Ward drive-by shooting bloodbath, just days before she was to start the eighth grade.

“It’s so senseless,” Reese said. “Day, night, they don’t care. They just don’t care.”

Onlookers said the man was shot at least four times and bled profusely before an ambulance arrived. A blood-soaked pillow left at the scene had been used to prop him up before help arrived.

One witness said the victim’s girlfriend had been present. After the shooting, the witness said, the woman started screaming, “They didn’t even care. They did it right in front of me.”

Harrison asked anyone with information on the shooting to call police or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.