06/23/2010 04:36 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Washington Park Mayor's House Shot At; Last Mayor Was Murdered In April

Three bullets hit the house of Washington Park, Illinois mayor Cynthia Stovall-Hollingsworth last night, in a shooting of which she was apparently not the target.

Still, the incident is harrowing for a town whose previous mayor, John Thornton, was shot and killed in April.

Thornton was on his way home after finishing an overnight shift at the Metro East Sanitation District, a job he kept throughout his tenure as mayor. He is believed to have pulled over to speak to some men stopped on the side of the road. Instead, he was shot in the head.

Stovall-Hollingsworth, his replacement, escaped from the shooting near her house unharmed. From the Belleville News-Democrat:

Stovall-Hollingsworth was home relaxing when suddenly she heard a rapid gunfire.

"Pop, pop, pop," she said. "I counted 15 rounds."

Stovall-Hollingsworth had been sitting on her bed, but when the gunfire started, she slid onto the floor.

The bullets that hit her home are believed to be stray rounds in an unrelated shooting. That victim, an unidentified man in his early 20s, was shot in the abdomen; he was hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery.

Local authorities confirmed that the mayor was not the target of the shooting, and blamed the escalation in violence -- as has been widely reported here -- on the warming temperatures.

Washington Park, a St. Louis suburb, is home to 5,400 people. The village has seen its share of struggles recently, as the News-Democrat previously reported:

Washington Park declared bankruptcy in July and several village employees, including Thornton's former assistant, have been prosecuted by the federal government for stealing from the village. Washington Park is an older urban community bordered by Interstate 64 and East St. Louis, noted for its highly visible strip clubs.

"Several other shootings were reported while we were working the one on 55th and Warren," Washington Park Police Chief Dave Clark.