A man who was stabbed to death near Greenwich Park thought his killers were joking when they pulled out a gun and ordered him to hand over his smartphone moments before the fatal attack, according to an eyewitness.
The 31-year-old victim and his friends were approached by two men on a moped in King William Walk, Greenwich, south-east London, in the early hours of Saturday morning, it is said.
They were making their way home from Oliver’s Jazz Bar on nearby Nevada Street when the assailants accosted them with a firearm and demanded a smartphone or a watch, it is claimed.
The victim initially thought the pair were joking, but fled when his friend yelled at him to run, according to a bystander.
Police said the victim was fatally stabbed during an altercation with the two men, who were both wearing helmets.
A witness, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The Independent she heard up to 10 gunshots and a man screaming as she was making her way home with a friend near the scene.
She said when she rushed over to help the victim, he was lying in the blood-splattered doorway of one of the houses along King William Walk, a street that runs to the foot of Greenwich Park.
“A man was lying in someone’s doorway with a lot of blood,” she said.
“They were coming from a jazz club nearby just round the corner.”
The woman was told that when the attackers pulled up on a moped and pulled out a gun, the victim “thought it was a joke, but then they started asking for his phone”.
“His friend was yelling at the girls for them to run,” she added.
“It seemed like they had just been waiting for somebody to walk down the street, and because these people thought that the riders were joking it escalated and somebody died.
“The people that were with him were in so much shock and one of them kept saying they just thought it was a joke.
“The people that I spoke to who were involved in the incident said we were just coming from the jazz cafe round the corner.”
Paramedics rushed to the scene but the man was pronounced dead after suffering multiple stab wounds.
Formal identification of the victim is yet to occur and a post-mortem is expected to be completed on Saturday.
Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway, who is leading the investigation, said: “At this early stage it is understood the victim was approached on King William Walk by two suspects on a moped.
“One suspect is believed to have been in possession of what appeared to be a firearm, the other a knife.
“During an altercation between the suspects and the victim, the victim was stabbed. The suspected firearm was discharged but enquiries continue regarding this.
“The suspects then fled the scene on the moped, and the victim then managed to make his way to a nearby address to ask for help. He was later pronounced dead there.
“I am appealing for any witnesses to any part of the incident, or anyone with any information, to contact our incident room and assist our investigation.”
The killing came one day after five victims were targeted in a series of acid attacks by two men on mopeds in the capital.
Two teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were arrested on suspicion of robbery and causing grievous bodily harm after a 90-minute rampage saw five men doused with a noxious substance on Thursday night.
Anyone that can assist the investigation can contact the incident room on 020 8721 4005, or police via 101 or Twitter @MetCC.
To give information anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.