Get gunman off the streets, pleads grandmother

A woman who saw her two-year-old grandson shot in the head has said a fear of being accused of “snitching” could be the reason people are not coming forward with information about the incident.

Lillian Serunkuma’s grandson was rushed to hospital in a critical condition and doctors told his family that the bullet missed a crucial artery by just 1mm.

The gunman shot four people – the toddler, his 27-year-old mother, who was hit by several bullets as she shielded him, including one which narrowly missed her heart, and two men in their late teens.

Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction, and have also released CCTV of a moped they believe was involved.

Ms Serunkuma witnessed the incident, which happened in Energen Close, Harlesden, north-west London, at around 9.45pm on June 3 last year.

She said her grandson and daughter are now “doing well”, but, reflecting on the fact that the perpetrator is still on the streets a year later, Ms Serunkuma told the PA news agency: “It’s unimaginable. It’s actually quite frightening to feel, to think, that someone who’s capable of doing such a crime is out there, and maybe a risk someone else.”

She said it is “really important” for people who may have information to put things into perspective.

“This could have been a situation that turned out completely different. We’re just lucky that my grandchild and my daughter are still here with us today.

“But it’s really important that the community remembers that this is something that it was only by a miracle that we’re here to talk about, but he definitely needs to be off the streets,” she said.

Harlesden shooting
Police officers look for evidence after the shooting in Energen Close in Harlesden, north-west London, in June 2020 (Aaron Chown/PA)

Speaking about why she thinks people have not come forward with information, she said: “It’s that community perception of snitching.

“And I think what the community has to understand is that this level of crime shouldn’t happen.

“And if we allow something like this to become a norm, a lot more parents and a lot more families are going to have to suffer.

“This is something that should never happen under no circumstance whatsoever.”

Asked if she believes it is a case of people being afraid of being seen as a “snitch”, she said: “Yeah, and plus as well it’s also people’s fears about repercussion and I think it’s important for them to also realise that there are measures that can be taken.

“The other thing is it’s important for people to realise if they choose to give information, it’s anonymous.

“There is the reward, but there is also the element that if you just want to say, it could be a tiny bit of information you have, just say it.”

Ms Serunkuma said she can understand why people have not come forward, adding: “I can only imagine how frightened people could be to come and give information, and to also be worried about the repercussion.

“But at some stage, if we don’t come forward, situations like this are going to keep happening, they’re going to keep escalating, more families are going to have to go through what I’ve gone through and what my family has gone through.

“So at some stage we do have to say enough is enough.”

On what it would mean for the family to get justice, she said: “It would mean that I can walk and not have to look behind my back. My daughter, my family can walk and not have to keep thinking, you know, is the person still out there? Could they be coming back again? It would make a really big difference.”

Harlesden shooting
Detective Inspector James Stevenson said the incident ‘could have been a quadruple homicide’ (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ms Serunkuma said witnessing the incident was “very traumatising”, adding: “It changes my whole perspective of just even going about my day to day. It’s worrying.

“And it’s one of those things that you will never forget. It’s changed our whole lives completely and it’s changed the lives of other people who were there at the time that had to witness the incident too.”

Reflecting on how the incident has changed her family, Ms Serunkuma said: “It’s changed our whole set-up. It’s changed who we are as people. It’s made us make really drastic decisions about how we live our lifestyle, who we have around us.

“It’s changed me as a person. I was a very trusting person, even though I had lost my son, I still held on to the fact that I look for the good in people, but in this situation it’s just changed my whole opinion.”

Detective Inspector James Stevenson said he would urge anyone who knows anything about what happened to come forward.

He said: “This was an horrendous incident which so easily could have been a quadruple homicide.”

The incident in June last year came after Ms Serunkuma’s 15-year-old son died in a stabbing attack.

On January 23 2017, Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, was killed outside Capital City Academy in Willesden, north-west London.

His then 15-year-old killer was jailed at the Old Bailey for at least 14 years for murder.