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Girl, 7, and five others injured in drive-by shooting outside London church

‘Any shooting incident is unacceptable, but for multiple people, including two children, to be injured in a shooting in the middle of a Saturday afternoon is shocking,’ says Superintendent Ed Wells

Joe Middleton
Saturday 14 January 2023 21:50 GMT
Police cordon drive-by shooting scene in London where girl, 7, and five others were injured

A seven-year-old girl is fighting for her life and five others have been injured in a “dreadful” suspected drive-by shooting outside a funeral in north London.

Metropolitan Police officers were called to the incident outside St Aloysius Church on Phoenix Road, near Euston station, at 13.29pm on Saturday. A memorial service for a mother and daughter who died within a month of each other was taking place inside at the time.

The force said the girl was in a life-threatening condition, while a 48-year-old woman has potentially life-changing injuries.

Two other injured women, aged 54 and 41, were taken to a hospital to be treated but their condition is not thought to be life-threatening. A second child, aged 12, who had a minor leg injury, has been discharged.

A 21-year-old woman was also taken to a hospital and police said they were waiting for an update on her condition.

A large police cordon is in place on Saturday evening (PA)

Officers said initial inquiries suggest the shots came from a moving vehicle, which was then driven away. A large police presence remains in the area, with searches being carried out by forensic officers, and cordons are in place.

Police said no arrests have been made. An air ambulance and police helicopter were sent to what was described as a chaotic scene

Officers described the service at the church as a funeral, but Father Jeremy Trood, who conducted the memorial, said it was a requiem mass for Sara Sanchez, 20, and her mother, who died within a month of each other in November.

Ms Sanchez suffered from leukaemia for three years before succumbing to the disease after her mother died suddenly from a rare blood clot on arrival at Heathrow from Colombia, MyLondon reported.

A medical bag is left in position at the scene of the suspected drive-by shooting (PA)

Father Trood said: “I was inside the church. I heard the bang and people ran back into the church. They knew something had happened outside.

“They were very scared, people sheltered in the church until the police said they can leave but some of them were so scared they had to wait a while to get their confidence back up to go outside.

“But I was in the church the whole time so I didn’t actually see what had happened.”

A resident of an estate across the road from the church, who did not want to give her name, said: “I heard the gunshots. I was having a quiet day on my balcony and I heard this almighty bang and I thought this was not normal, and the next minute everyone was screaming and shouting.

“We have a food bank there and everyone was running off. Neighbours came in and said there has been a shooting. What a terrible thing.”

A police forensics officer works near the scene on Phoenix Road (PA)

Another witness at St Aloysius Church when the shooting took place told MyLondon: “It was chaos. It was horrible.

“No one knew if it was a bomb or gunman. We were looking for places to hide. We all just snuggled into corners where we could. We left after about 10 minutes, I did not dare [leave before]. It was not nice.”

Urging anyone with information about the attack to come forward, Superintendent Ed Wells said: “Any shooting incident is unacceptable, but for multiple people, including two children, to be injured in a shooting in the middle of a Saturday afternoon is shocking.

“Our thoughts are with all the victims, but in particular with the seven-year-old girl who is in a life-threatening condition and with her family.

Police forensic officers attend the scene of a shooting near St Aloysius RC Church (Getty Images)

“An investigation into this dreadful attack is already well under way involving local officers and specialist detectives. I can assure the communities of Camden and beyond that we will do everything we possibly can to identify and bring to justice those who were responsible.

“Local residents can expect to see an increased visible police presence in the area through the weekend and into the days ahead as we progress this investigation.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the shooting was “deeply distressing” and his “thoughts are with those who were injured and their families”.

“A police investigation is now under way and I am in close contact with the Met Police to determine what happened,” he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “I am deeply shocked by the shooting in Euston and want to thank the emergency services for their response.”

Cordons remain in place as police examine the scene (Getty Images)

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information is asked to call 101, giving the reference 3357/14JAN. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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