A seven-year-old girl is in a life-threatening condition following a suspected drive-by shooting outside a church in Euston, London, while another girl and four women have been injured in the same incident.
The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to a shooting outside a memorial service which was being held in St Aloysius Roman Catholic Church on Phoenix Road, at about 1.30pm on Saturday.
Two children were injured: a seven-year-old girl who remains in a critical condition; and a 12-year-old girl who has been discharged after receiving treatment for minor leg injuries.
A 21-year-old woman is also in a central London hospital. Police said her injuries were non life-threatening.
Three women: aged 41, 48, and 54; remain in hospital with non life-threatening injuries, though the 48-year-old’s injuries could be life-changing, police have said.
Witnesses have said that a service was being held at the church for a young woman who had died of leukaemia – until gunmen sent mourners running and screaming outside.
One 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.”
Police had initially described the service at the church as a funeral, but Father Jeremy Trood, who conducted the service, confirmed it was a Requiem Mass for Sara Sanchez, 20, and her mother, who both 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.
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.”
Sue, 54, a resident of the block next to the church who preferred not to give her last name, said the shooting victims were “lucky to get an ambulance” given the current crisis in the NHS.
She said: “I heard screaming going on but that is not unusual for around here. I heard shouting and I came out and saw the police and ambulances.
“It was probably a revenge thing, around here there is a lot of crime. It’s just getting worse, a lot of drug abuse. On this estate we have gangs hanging around on different corners.
“They must have caught the car on CCTV, round here it would got stuck in traffic.”
Met Superintendent Ed Wells said officers have not yet made any arrests, and appealed for any witnesses to contact police.
He 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.
“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.
“I would urge anyone with information to come forward, either to the police or anonymously, to Crimestoppers.”
Anyone with information about the attack should call 101, giving the reference 3357/14JAN.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he is in close contact with the Met to determine what happened, and expressed condolences to the families affected.
He said: “This is a deeply distressing incident and my thoughts are with those who were injured and their families.”