Teenager killed in supermarket shooting was innocent bystander

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The Independent Online

A teenager buying groceries has been shot dead inside the doorway of a south London shop after he was caught in the middle of a gangland confrontation.

Ryan Bravo, 18, a student at a business college, died from a gunshot wound to the back as he was shopping with his brother and cousin. An unidentified 19-year-old man was arrested last night over the killing, police said.

Mr Bravo was the 22nd teenager to be murdered in London this year.

Witnesses described how Mr Bravo was shot in the Costcutter store in Walworth, at about 9.40pm on Wednesday. Moments before two black men of a similar age had pushed their way into the shop behind him. As the pair, who were believed to be trying to get away from someone, forced their way inside, several shots were fired.

Officers are searching for up to five males who drove away on three mopeds. Detectives also want to trace the two black teenagers they believe were the intended victims of the shooting.

A blue tarpaulin covered the entrance to the shop, which had one of its front windows smashed, while forensics officers searched the area for clues. Just inside the entrance, beside a pile of metal shopping baskets, smears of blood were still visible on the floor.

An Albanian man in his twenties was caught up in the shooting as he tried to buy cigarettes. He said he heard up to four shots fired in the space of less than 10 seconds. "I was in the shop last night buying cigarettes and four or five guys ran in," he said. "I didn't think anything bad was going to happen because I thought they were joking and laughing. They didn't look scared or angry or anything. But then I heard shots, three or four.

"It was all over in about seven seconds. I just put all of my stuff down and ran out of the shop. A hysterical lady ran out after me. Two people ran out, got on mopeds and drove away. I'm lucky to be alive."

Family friends gathered at the victim's mother's house in nearby Lambeth yesterday. Elfrida Kiffin said her son had never been in any trouble. "Ryan was a decent, hardworking young man and loving son," she said. "This is an extremely difficult time for all of us that knew and loved Ryan and I would ask that we are given the time and space to grieve in private."

Mr Bravo's girlfriend, who asked not to be named, added: "He was a really great guy. He was a college student studying business. He was completely innocent."

A family friend strongly denied Ryan was a member of any gang. "He had so much to look forward to," he said. "His whole life was ahead of him."

Detective Inspector Tim Carter, of Operation Trident, the Metropolitan Police team tackling gun crime in London's black community, said the gunman and his accomplice were wearing motorcycle helmets.

DI Carter said: "The victim, who comes from Lambeth, was walking down Camberwell Road with his brother and cousin and they made a stop a Costcutter to get some provisions on the way home. Two other black males barged past them into the shop and the victim was shot in the back. The shots were fired by two men on scooters, who then drove off."