Three killed protecting property during Birmingham riots
- 10 August 2011
- From the section Birmingham & Black Country
Three men have been run over and killed as they protected property in a second night of violence in Birmingham.
The men aged 31, 30 and 21 were hit by a car in Winson Green. They were taken to City Hospital where about 200 people from the Asian community gathered.
Witnesses said the men were in a group protecting their community after riot police were called into the city.
Police have arrested a 32-year-old man who is being questioned on suspicion of murder following the deaths.
Haroon Jahan, 21, Shahzad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were taken to hospital but died from their injuries.
West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims said the incident happened when a group of males had been gathered close to a petrol station in Dudley Road.
"At some point, and in circumstances that as yet I can't fully explain, a vehicle has been driven into that group of males, which tragically has led to three of those men losing their lives," he said.
All three were from the Asian Muslim community, he said.
'Covered in blood'
Referring to the arrest he said: "He has been arrested for murder because the information that we have at the moment would support the idea the car was deliberately driven."
Prime Minister David Cameron called it a "truly dreadful incident" and offered his condolences to the men's families.
Tariq Jahan, whose son Haroon Jahan was killed, said he was nearby when it happened.
"My instinct was to help the three people, I did not know who they were but they had been injured.
"I was helping the first man and someone from behind told me my son was behind me.
"So I started CPR on my own son, my face was covered in blood, my hands were covered in blood.
He said his son, who was a mechanic, had been trying to protect the community as incidents were taking place elsewhere in the area. He said a petrol station along the road had been attacked.
"He was a very good lad, a good man starting at the beginning of his life and had his whole life ahead of him," he said.
"I've got no words to describe why he was taken and why this has happened and what's happening to the whole of England.
"It makes no sense why people are behaving in this way and taking the lives of three innocent people."
Witnesses to the incident said the three victims - two of them brothers - were part of a group protecting shops from looting.
Kabir Khan Isakhel said: "People came out of prayers [at a local mosque] and they were protecting the area.
"They were standing on the side of the road and the car just came and ran them over."
Mohammed Shakiel, 34, a carpenter, said the men "lost their lives for other people".
'Car came flying'
"They weren't standing outside a mosque, a temple, a synagogue or a church - they were standing outside shops where everybody goes.
"They were protecting the community as a whole."
West Midlands Police said: "Three men have died following a road collision in the Winson Green area of Birmingham which detectives are treating as murder.
"Three men were taken to hospital where two later died from their injuries. A third man was in a critical condition but confirmed dead at around 6.30am.
"West Midlands Police have launched a murder inquiry, arrested one man in connection with the incident and recovered a vehicle nearby which will be examined by forensics experts."
Mr Sims said he wanted to ensure the incident did not lead to a wider level of mistrust or violence.
"At these difficult times, people across all our communities must trust the police to protect them," he said.
A community meeting has been held in Winson Green with police and Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood attending.
'Mix of voices'
Residents called for police to protect them and Ms Mahmood said it was important people did not take matters into their own hands.
Speaking after the meeting, she said the families of the young men were "absolutely devastated".
"There have been a number of meetings with local community members and there will be more later on," she said.
"We must not allow anyone to panic - we should give the community some space to grieve."
She also said the police should be given space to carry out their inquiries and appealed for calm.
Derrick Campbell, of Race Equality Sandwell, appealed to people not to take the law into their own hands.
"The police are here to take charge and are doing their job," he said.
"I would appeal to all to please remain calm - we must cease the violence and please do not turn this into something that it is not.
"This is an accident, by the sounds of it - we certainly haven't got any more information more than that but we must remain calm and wait for the investigation to be concluded."
The Bishop of Aston, Andrew Watson, said he had attended a meeting with local MP Shabana Mahmood and 40 Muslim men from the community.
"There was a mix of voices," he said.
"Some were saying we mustn't rise up but there was some talk of reprisals. The community is in shock.
"The meeting helped, it was good the MP responded so quickly and we could talk to the community."
Officers have appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
There was looting in Birmingham city centre, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich on Tuesday night.
Police said there were 163 arrests on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning up to 03:00 BST. That brings the total number of arrests in the West Midlands to about 300 since the disorder began.
Police have been investigating reports that shots had been fired in the Aston area of Birmingham.