Man arrested as tributes paid to teenage victim of Birmingham shooting


A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering an 18-year-old who was shot dead in Birmingham - the fourth such killing in the city since autumn last year.

Police were called to St Mark's Crescent in the Ladywood area at around 6.45pm on Thursday and discovered the teenager, named locally as Kenichi Phillips, with a gunshot wound.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and detectives have launched a murder investigation.

Detectives said a 22-year-old suspect from Birmingham was arrested at an undisclosed location in the city at around 12.20pm on Friday, and is being questioned at a police station in the Midlands.

Paying tribute, the victim's great uncle said: "Still coming to terms that his beautiful smile will only be a memory (and a happy one) from this day forth, but tears keep falling."

Posting on Facebook, Cee Stylee added: "My heart cries and bleeds for my niece who has lost her baby boy, my sister and the rest of our family."

Speaking at the scene, community activist Desmond Jaddoo said shootings had been on the rise since January 2015, and that the issue needed tackling by the police and the community.

He said: "How many more people have got to die?"

Mr Jaddoo has helped install weapons bins at various locations across the city in recent months, in a drive backed by the police to get knives and guns off the city's streets.

He said: "There was another shooting around here about six to eight weeks ago I heard about, in Handsworth, so it's been a matter of concern.

"A key element of this is these firearms incidents are taking place in populated areas; we've had Regent Road, Soho Hill - where a young man lost his life, Great Hampton Row and clearly this needs to be placed on the agenda.

"There was a spike in gun incidents in July 2015; however, gun discharges have been brought to our attention since January last year."

He added: "This has escalated. How many more people have got to die?"

Meanwhile, the road has been cordoned off and forensics teams have been searching the area for evidence, with a large crime scene tent covering a black car.

A short distance away around the corner, leading to the warren of alleyways that dot the housing estate, another smaller forensics tent marks the area where the victim is thought to have collapsed.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, who heads West Midland's Police CID's murder unit, said the victim had been in a black Seat Leon when he was shot.

He said a group of people had been in the street at the time, and it appeared the young man had managed to stagger a short distance around the corner before succumbing to his injuries.

Mr Payne added: "He's in the car when he was shot.

"We've got the car there (under the forensics tent) and then a sequence of bloody steps and blood trail that leads around the corner.

"He's staggered less than a hundred yards and that's fairly typical with an adrenaline burst."

Police are appealing for witnesses and are scouring CCTV for clues.

The detective said the victim's loved ones were understandably "devastated" by what had happened.

"It is a tragic event - we have seen too many of these events," said Mr Payne.

"We see too many upset and distraught families in these circumstances.

"We are working tirelessly to bring the offenders to justice and take them off the streets."

Of the man currently in police custody being questioned on suspicion of the murder, Mr Payne said it was "very early days" for the inquiry, describing it as "an emerging situation".

On Friday morning, bewildered residents were trying to come to terms with the killing on their doorsteps.

Adam Tyrell, 52, who is staying with his mother who lives in the street, said his brother heard a loud bang and shortly afterwards police arrived on the scene.

He said: "We were having some food and my brother said he thought he heard something like a gunshot.

"But you hear these sounds because you live around a main road, every day you hear cars backfiring and things. You don't react to it because you don't think it can be something like that."

Mr Phillips is the fourth man to be shot dead in Birmingham in six months, starting with the killing of 19-year-old Connor Smith in Hawkesley on October 8 2015.

Later that month, 25-year-old Derek Junior Myers was shot dead in Soho Hill, Hockley.

In February this year, businessman Akhtar Javeed was gunned down at his business premises in the Digbeth area of the city.

Mr Jaddoo said: "Unfortunately, there is a family grieving for their 18-year-old son today, which is an absolute tragedy."

Also at the scene, the young victim's former primary school teacher Andre Martin, said Mr Phillips had been taken too young.

He said: "His family, they must be devastated. These things are affecting families, friends, communities.

"It's time all this honestly stopped and we came together, because he's 18, he's just 18."

A friend of the Phillips family, laying flowers at the scene, said: "This is terrible, it could be anybody's child."

One card on the flowers read: "RIP 'Nichies'", while another said: "Such a sad day - we lost another angel."

Mr Phillips is said by police to be from the Midlands, but had previously lived in Birmingham.

A post mortem is expected to be carried out on Saturday.