A 39-year-old woman was shot in the side Monday afternoon when a stray bullet, fired from across the street, pierced the front door of her Central City apartment. The woman, whose apartment is near the corner of Louisiana Avenue and South Robertson Street, was taken to the hospital in stable condition, according to the New Orleans Police Department.

Neighbors counted four shots, fired just before 3:30 p.m. Monday, hours after Mayor Mitch Landrieu marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day with an appeal to quell the city’s culture of violence.

New Orleans Police Department Spokeswoman Hilal B. Williams said that preliminary reports suggest the shooting began at Amelia and South Robertson streets, three blocks away from the woman’s apartment. The Police Department is looking for three men in a new-model black Honda who they believe fired the shots at one man dressed all in black.

An employee at Key’s Food Store across the street from the woman’s apartment suspected the bullets were intended for three teenage boys he watched walking south along Louisiana Avenue. As the boys crossed the intersection, he said, a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt got out of a black car parked next to a dumpster on South Robertson, opposite the woman’s apartment and a few yards from the store’s corner entrance.

The man, captured on the store’s surveillance cameras, fired the shots as he ran down the block toward Louisiana Avenue. The boys took off across four lanes of traffic and disappeared between two buildings, he said. They did not appear to be injured.

The black car, with red trim, reversed, the store employee said. The shooter jumped in, rubbing his hand like he was injured, and the car sped away down South Robertson toward Napoleon Avenue.

The bullet left a hole the diameter of a ball-point pen under the wreath on the door of the woman’s apartment in Harmony Oaks, a mixed-income development on the site of the former C.J. Peete public housing complex.

It was the latest in a string of high-profile incidents in which stray bullets killed or injured innocent bystanders.

Last weekend, Keian Ester, an 11-year-old Harvey boy, was spending the night at a Westwego apartment when a bullet pierced the wall, struck him in the eye and exited the back of his head. He died the following day. The bullet, fired from a passing Dodge Charger, was meant for a group of men standing in front of the building, police suspect.

In December, 2-year-old Keira Holmes was killed in the courtyard of the B.W. Cooper public housing complex by a gunshot aimed at 19-year-old Emmett Allen, who was injured in the attack.

And in August, 31-year-old Cheryl Russell-Cheavious was shot in the head as she sat in the living room of a friend’s house on the West Bank.

Police ask anyone with information about the Louisiana Avenue shooting to call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

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