The Metropolitan Police have announced that they have arrested a 19 year old man in connection with the shooting of an innocent bystander from Bethnal Green at London Fields on Saturday afternoon (22 May). He has been “bailed to a date in early June pending further inquiries.”
Detectives hunting down the gunman or gunmen responsible have established that the 27 year old man shot in the stomach “was a totally innocent bystander out for the day enjoying the festival and the sun when the shooting occurred.”
DS Steve Desmond from the Met’s Trident team said:
“We need to hear from witnesses who may have seen people armed with weapons. Anyone with information are asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.”
Forensic tests at the crime scene have established that the shots were fired outside the park and one of the bullets travelled into the park hitting the victim in the torso. Thousands of parents and their children were in the area attending the local Parks for Life festival and enjoying the excellent weather. They were horrified by the sound of the gunfire and the developing scene of the London Ambulance Service and the Air Ambulance (HEMS) attending and taking the victim to hospital. He remains in a serious but stable condition.
Hackney Borough’s police commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, has fiercely condemned the shooting:
“This was a callous, reckless and brazen act, without any thought by those responsible, for the fact that they were in the vicinity of a crowded park. This was quite simply, appalling.”
The local media in Hackney have been reporting a growing tide of public outrage with local politicans and the police who have been under pressure to recognise the impact of gangland culture coming so close to killing an innocent man trying to enjoy a day out in a London park.
In response to the growing tide of anger, Chief Superintendent Steve Bending, has revealed that over the last three weeks local police have been engaged in “an intensive operation targeting gang related violence”:
“This operation has so far resulted in 125 arrests for offences including firearms possession, GBH, drugs supply and robbery. Three firearms have been recovered including a Mac10, there have been over 2,000 stops and the execution of 17 search warrants. Whilst strong enforcement activity does not provide a long-term solution, it does bring to justice those who choose to commit gang-related violence. The operation will continue and now intensify.”
The Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe’s comments immediately after Saturday’s shooting incident were criticised and earlier this week the council responded by explaining that he had been quoted out of context:
“The Mayor and Hackney Council take gun and gang crime extremely seriously and are working hard with the police to support them both in the context of this incident and the wider context of controlling gang activity in Hackney. All public events are risk assessed in partnership with the police. While the incident took place some distance from the event, we will be looking into whether there are any further measures we could take to ensure visitors are as safe as possible.”