Gang war probe after girl, five, shot in Stockwell shop

A five-year-old girl and a shopkeeper have been injured in a shooting at a grocery store in south London.

Police were called to reports of shots fired in Stockwell Food and Wine shop in Stockwell Road on Tuesday night.

The man, aged 35, and the girl are both in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Police said the victims were thought to have been caught in the firing line of a gang who were targeting two youths sheltering in the shop.

Officers from Operation Trident, which focuses on gun crime in the black community, are investigating.

The shooting happened at about 2115 BST. No arrests have been made.

The girl, who was visiting relatives, was hit in the chest. She cannot be named as not all her family have been informed of her injuries.

The shopkeeper, who lived above the store, was shot in the face. The victims were not related.

Eyewitness Kirubakaran Nantheesbaran said: "One of her family members was keeping her on his lap and he was giving pressure to her heart because she was suddenly flat.

"She couldn't talk and she couldn't breathe but I didn't see any blood on her body, just a small injury on her chest."

'Terrible incident'

The Metropolitan Police (Met) said: "It is believed two black youths ran into the shop shortly before the shots were fired.

"The youths had been chased from Broomgrove Road, across Stockwell Road, and into the shop by three other black youths on bicycles.

"Once the youths on bikes were outside the shop, one of them fired shots into the shop front."

Lambeth Borough Commander, Nick Ephgrave, said: "My thoughts and prayers are with the girl, the man and their families.

"The investigation in to this shooting is being led by operation Trident, but Lambeth officers were in attendance at the scene and continue to provide support to the investigation.

"Whilst exact details of what happened remain to be established, what is clear is that two innocent bystanders have been caught up in a violent attack on other persons."

Police said the victims were both believed to be Sri Lankan. They have put on an increased police presence to reassure the public.

The parade of shops remains cordoned off and Stockwell Green Court, an access road behind the main road, has also been sealed off.

'Gangs and guns'

Councillor Peter Robbins, of Lambeth Council, said: "It is incredibly shocking, I think the whole community at the moment is numb and horrified, and rightly so.

"There is a fairly well-known problem with gangs and guns in Lambeth, it is something that the council and the police are working together incredibly hard to solve.

"Obviously, there is always more you can do and incidents like this really bring that home."

Barny Stutter, who co-owns nearby Brixton Cycles, said the shopkeepers belonged to a "very tight" community.

He said: "We are absolutely disgusted with what's happened.

"This area has recovered from a bad reputation built up in the media but we love to live and work in the community."

He also said staff working in fast food shops in the area were regularly hassled by youths.

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