Birmingham deaths: police hunt continues

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The Independent Online

Detectives investigating the murders of three friends struck by a car while protecting shops from looters in Birmingham are seeking further suspects but continued to question three men arrested on Thursday.

Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were mowed down in Winson Green as they tried to protect local businesses. A 32-year-old man, who was arrested within hours of the fatal incident, was released on bail on Thursday. Officers told an inquest the incident was captured on CCTV.

A second car has also been recovered which is believed to have been "in convoy" with the vehicle that hit the men, according to Detective Superintendent Richard Baker. "The offending [burnt out] vehicle was found 200 metres from the scene of the incident. We are still actively seeking other people we believe were in the vehicles."

Relatives of the three victims will make further appeals for calm today during a police press conference amid fears that relations between community groups remain dangerously tense. Police have not released details about the ethnicity of the men arrested but rumours that the culprits are Afro-Caribbean have increased tensions.

Haroon Jahan's father, Tariq Jahan, was singled out for praise by the chief constable on Thursday after his plea for calm appeared to diffuse racial tensions. Floral tributes and messages from black, white and Asian people continued to mount as people travelled for miles to pay their respects.

The city coroner opened and adjourned the inquests yesterday and said he hoped to release the bodies next Wednesday.

There have been 445 arrests so far in the West Midlands. A van broadcasting CCTV images travelled around Birmingham to allow residents to get a look at suspects' faces.