Lancashire Police Launch Investigation After Woman Dies in Suspected Shooting in Blackburn18 May 2020
Lancashire Police have launched a murder investigation after a 19-year-old woman was found “unresponsive” in Blackburn’s King Street on Sunday afternoon. Police were called into the area following reports of gunfire. Although no official announcement about the victim’s identity has been made, a number of local outlets identified the victim as Aya Ismail Hachem.
Police have appealed to the public for information about the incident. In their statement, the police said that members of the public may be unwilling to come forward if they witnessed the incident while violating lockdown rules but reassured them that they are currently more concerned about finding the suspect.
“She was caught in the cross fire. She was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The shooting took place in King Street on Sunday afternoon. According to Councillor Suleman Khonat, who spoke to local press outlets, Hachem was out shopping at the Lidl located near her home when she was shot. Police arrived in the area around 15:00 following reports of gunfire. Although Hachem was taken to the hospital, she could not be saved.
According to Khonat, Hachem, a second year law student at the University of Salford and the Young Trustee of Children’s Society, was merely caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting and did not suggest that she was specifically targeted. Police has yet to conclude the autopsy on Hachem and determine an exact cause and motive.
The Lebanese Welfare Community said thanked all those who sent condolences and said that her body would be returned to Lebanon once the police investigation is over and her body is handed over.
“We are asking for the public’s help identifying the offender or offenders.”
The Lancashire Police has since issued an appeal to the public to help identify the killer or killers. They said that a light-coloured – possibly metallic green – Toyota Avensis, may have been involved in the incident. They said that a car matching the description was found in the nearby Wellington Road and that the police is now looking for witnesses who saw the car in either location, as well as any Dashcam or CCTV footage that captured the car.
Describing the incident as a shocking and senseless killing, Detective Superintendent Jonathan Holmes told members of the press that King Street is usually busy at the time of the incident and that he is confident that witnesses will be found. He added that he understands people may be reluctant to come forward if they have not been following lockdown regulations but reassured them that finding out what happened in the most immediate concern.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 and quote log number 817 for 17 May. Information can also be provided anonymously at Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.