Indian-origin girl, presumably from Kerala, ‘fighting for life’ after drive-by shooting in London

Reports from London’s Malayali community have named the girl Lissel Maria, daughter of Vinaya and Ajeesh of Gothuruthu in Kochi.


Published May 31, 2024 | 8:13 PMUpdatedMay 31, 2024 | 8:13 PM

Kerala origin teen shot at in London

A nine-year-old girl, yet to be formally identified but believed to be from the southern Indian state of Kerala, is in critical condition in a hospital “fighting for her life” after suffering a gunshot wound on Wednesday, 29 May in a drive-by shooting from a motorbike in east London.

The Metropolitan Police said the girl was inside a restaurant in the Kingsland High Street area of Hackney having dinner with her family when the shooting occurred. Three as yet unnamed men, aged 26, 37 and 42, who were sitting outside the restaurant were also taken to hospital for treatment after suffering gunshot wounds and their conditions are said to be “stable, but one potentially faces life-changing injuries”.

“A nine-year-old girl, who was inside the restaurant having dinner with her family, suffered a gunshot wound and she remains in hospital in a critical condition. Our thoughts are with her and her family and they are being supported by special officers,” Met Police Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) James Conway said in a statement.

“We do not believe that the girl and the men injured were known to each other. As with any child, she was an innocent victim of the indiscriminate nature of gun crime…Events such as these are rarely spontaneous. Someone knows who is responsible for this shooting that has left a little girl fighting for her life,” he said, appealing for information to assist the police investigation.

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The girl is from Kochi: London’s Malayali community

Meanwhile, reports from London’s Malayali community have named the girl Lissel Maria, daughter of Vinaya and Ajeesh of Gothuruthu in Kochi. They were out having a meal in a busy east London neighbourhood when the sudden shooting, believed to be gang-related, sent shockwaves within the community.

“I know that local people will be extremely concerned by this incident. We share that concern and an urgent investigation has been launched to identify and apprehend those responsible,” DCS Conway noted in his statement.

He said his officers were at the scene within minutes of the crime being reported and crime scenes were put in place at Kingsland High Street and at Colvestone Crescent, where they recovered a motorbike that was used in the shooting, which turned out to have been stolen.

“The investigation is now being led by our Specialist Crime colleagues, and we are supporting them with specialist local officers, as they conduct fast-time enquiries to identify and apprehend those responsible and to establish the motive behind the shooting,” said Conway.

“This is a fast-moving, complex investigation, and we will be working closely with our Specialist Crime colleagues to establish the full facts in the coming days,” he added.

The investigation is at an early stage and the police said they are keeping an open mind as to what the motive could be. Investigators are keen to identify other witnesses who were in the area around the scene at the time of the shooting and have appealed for footage from a phone or other device.

To reassure and support the local community, the police said there will be a significant police presence in this area, including armed officers, as part of efforts to tackle violence and gun crime.

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