Crackdown fails to halt gun deaths

A FRESH wave of gun crime swept England yesterday as armed police took to the streets to clamp down on firearm-related killings.

The latest murders saw a man killed in east London with another three shot and wounded in two incidents in Manchester.

Yesterday's shootings follow a spate of killings in London, which have claimed the lives of three teenagers in a fortnight.

London's latest incident saw a man in his twenties killed in Hackney. Witnesses said three gunmen shot the man in his car shortly before 5.30am before blasting him again as he staggered down the road.

The gunmen were seen walking "confidently" away from their dying victim. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. Witness Gabriel Ajayi, who saw the shooting unfold, said the victim was shot at close range.

Ajayi, 50, whose flat overlooks the scene, was woken by gunshots. He said: "I looked out my window and saw a man lying on the ground on the road and I saw three guys running away. All of a sudden, they came back and shot him twice again at close range. It was a cold-blooded murder."

Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Trident unit, which deals with shootings among the black community, are investigating the incident.

In Manchester, meanwhile, three men are recovering in hospital after being shot in two attacks in the city. In the first incident, late on Friday night, an 18-year-old man was shot in the back in the Moss Side district, close to where Jessie James, 15, was murdered last September in an attack that traumatised the area.

Hours after the Moss Side shooting, two men, aged 19 and 27, were wounded when gunmen shot at the car they were in at a set of traffic lights in the Longsight district. Police have said the shootings were not thought to be linked.

Chief Superintendent Dave Keller, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "We have increased patrols in the area and we do now have some armed officers on patrol." But he added that overall levels of gun crime in the city had been falling, although there has been a rise in recent months.

"Clearly there are tensions in the area," he said. "This problem is only caused by a small number of individuals. We are actively targeting those individuals."

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