Christmas Eve shooting victim killed in front of family after night out

A man shot dead on Christmas Eve was killed in front of his family as they returned home from a night out, police have said.

Metropolitan Police detectives are continuing to appeal for information after the 36-year-old was fatally shot close to his home in Battersea, south-west London.

Police were called to reports of shots being fired in Battersea Church Road at about 9pm and found a man with gunshot wounds.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, Scotland Yard said.

Battersea shooting
Police appealed for any witnesses (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Jamie Stevenson said: “Our investigation is in the very early stages and we are still working to establish what the motive could be that has led to a man losing his life in such a horrific way, on Christmas Eve, in front of his family.

“They have been devastated by this horrible event and are being supported by specialist officers.

“We know that the victim was returning home with his wife and young child following an evening out, when he was shot just yards from his home.

“The assailant then fled on foot in the direction of Battersea Bridge Road.”

The death is the 142nd homicide identified by the PA news agency in London in 2019, the highest number in a calendar year since 2008.

Battersea shooting
Police at the scen in Battersea Church Road (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Last year, there were 141 police-recorded homicides in the capital, according to Home Office statistics.

Mr Stevenson urged anyone who saw someone fleeing the scene or loitering in the area before the attack to contact the police.

Scotland Yard said no arrests have been made, with formal identification and a post-mortem examination still to take place.

Neighbours living near the scene of the shooting had described hearing multiple gunshots followed by a woman screaming “desperately” for help.

Vittoria Amati, 60, said she heard between “eight to 10” gunshots fired in quick succession.

Battersea shooting
Witnesses describe hearing the screams of the victim’s wife (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Mrs Amati told the PA news agency: “I then heard the screams of the wife. I came out and realised it was one of my neighbours.

“He was lying in front of his doorway in a pool of blood. He was still alive. We were really hoping he would make it.

“You have no idea how desperate she (his wife) sounded.”

Mrs Amati said a young woman who identified herself as a nurse helped the victim and applied pressure to his wounds.

A 24-year-old man, who also lives nearby and did not want to be named, said at one point there were about 10 people gathered outside trying to call 999.

Superintendent Richard Smith, of the south-west command unit, said: “There is no suggestion that there is any ongoing risk to members of the local community in Battersea.”

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