11 in custody over drive-by shooting of teenage law student

Eleven people are being questioned in custody over the murder of a law student gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

Innocent passer-by Aya Hachem, 19, was hit by one of several shots fired from a vehicle as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

She died from a single wound to the chest.

Blackburn incident
Aya Hachem was an innocent victim (Lancashire Police/PA)

Detectives have been granted an additional 36 hours by magistrates to question three men, aged 33, 36 and 39, all from Blackburn, on suspicion of her murder after their arrests on Monday.

On Wednesday, Lancashire Police said they had made eight more arrests.

Four men aged 28, 31, 35 and 39 and a woman aged 29 were held on suspicion of murder.

Also arrested were two women aged 19 and 26 and a 29-year-old man on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Police believe Miss Hachem was not the intended target of the attack, which took place in broad daylight on a busy main road near a Lidl supermarket in the town centre.

The Lebanese-born teenager, a second year student at the University of Salford, died in hospital a short time after emergency services were called to the scene in King Street at around 3pm.

Blackburn incident
Forensics officers at the scene in King Street (Peter Byrne/PA)

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, from Lancashire Constabulary’s major investigation team, said: “This is a very fast moving investigation, with information coming in from various places which we are reacting swiftly to.

“My thanks goes to everyone who has passed on information to us, be that over the phone, through the Major Incident Public Portal (MIPP) or via Crimestoppers.

“I continue to appeal to people who think they know who was involved in the tragic shooting of Aya but haven’t spoken to us yet to do the right thing and make contact.

Blackburn incident
The Toyota Avensis that police believe was used in the shooting was later found abandoned (Lancashire Police/PA)

“Aya, the innocent victim in all of this, along with her family, deserve justice and it is people telling us what they know that will help us find the people or person responsible.”

A number of people were travelling in the light green/silver Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired close to the Lidl store.

The vehicle, with the registration number SV53 UBP, was abandoned a short time later in nearby Wellington Road and seized for forensic examination.

Any information or video footage can be sent via the major incident portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020120E05-PO1.

Anybody with information should contact 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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