Pictured: Law student, 19, gunned down in ‘senseless’ drive-by shooting as she walked past Lidl on shopping trip
- Woman named locally as Aya Hachem killed in Blackburn shooting yesterday
- Police have launched a murder investigation into her death and recovered car
- She was found unresponsive in the street at 3pm Sunday after gunshots heard
A 19-year-old law student who was killed in a ‘senseless and shocking’ shooting as she walked past a Lidl supermarket has been pictured for the first time.
The ‘much loved’ victim, named locally as University of Salford student Aya Hachem, died shortly after she was reportedly shot from a car window in Blackburn, Lancashire at around 3pm yesterday.
Ms Hachem, who was a young trustee with the Children’s Society and hoped to study international law, had been just 100 metres from her home when she was shot and killed on King Street.
Police have launched a murder investigation into her death, which centres around a car which was spotted leaving the scene of the shooting.
A vehicle matching its description – a light-coloured, possibly metallic green, Toyota Avensis – was found abandoned on Wellington Road, a short distance away from the murder scene.
A woman named locally as University of Salford student Aya Hachem (pictured) died shortly after she was reportedly shot from a car window in Blackburn, Lancashire at around 3pm yesterday
Ms Hachem, whose family moved to the UK from Lebanon, was found ‘unresponsive’ on the ground after gunshots were heard in the area around King Street on Sunday.
Armed officers, along with as many as seven squad cars and a helicopter, attended the scene and the victim was rushed to hospital, where she sadly died a short while later.
While a post mortem is yet to take place, it is believed the cause of death was a gunshot wound, a Lancashire Police spokesman confirmed.
The Asylum and Refugee Community (ARC) Project in Blackburn paid tribute to the ‘beautiful’ and ‘much loved’ Ms Hachem in a Facebook post today.
‘With great sadness and heartache we have to share with you that we have lost Aya, beloved eldest daughter of Samar and Ismael from Lebanon,’ a statement said.
‘Aya, one of our own, lost her life in a horrific senseless attack, randomly caught up in a shooting outside Lidl, King Street, Blackburn as she walked past at around 3pm on Sunday.
‘Aya, a beautiful 19 year old young woman from Lebanon, had just passed her 2nd year law exams at Salford University and had a dream and ambition to study international law.
Pictured: An armed police officer at the scene on King Street, Blackburn, today following the death of a woman from a suspected gunshot wound on Sunday
Armed officers, along with as many as seven squad cars and a helicopter, attended the scene and the victim was rushed to hospital
‘Aya and her family are much loved in our ARC community. Our hearts and prayers are with them at this painful time especially during this holy month of Ramadam when Aya and her family were fasting.’
Friends of the ‘beloved’ teenager have raised more than £25,000 in just 12 hours to build a Masjid – a mosque – in her honour in west Africa.
In a JustGiving post, Hannan Qazi wrote: ‘I urge you all to share and donate and grant this beautiful reward to our late sister.
‘The Masjid will be built in association with Muslim Hands and built in Niger, West Africa.’
In an urgent appeal to the public for information, Jonathan Holmes, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: ‘This is a truly shocking and senseless killing, which has robbed a young woman of her life.
‘Although the victim has yet to be formally identified, we believe she was a young woman from the local area.
‘Her family have now been informed of her death and they are understandably utterly, utterly distraught.
‘Our thoughts are very much with them, and her wider family and friends, at this awful time.
Police are seen on King Street today where a woman, 19, was shot and later rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead
‘An investigation has been launched and we are determined to find those responsible – and we are asking for the public’s help identifying the offender or offenders.
‘We believe a light-coloured Toyota Avensis – possibly metallic green – may have been involved in the incident.
‘A car matching the same description has since been recovered from nearby Wellington Road and we are now asking anybody who saw a car matching this description in either location to get in touch as soon as possible.
‘We would also like to hear from anybody who has dashcam, CCTV or mobile phone footage of the incident, and who has not yet been spoken to by police.’
Ms Hachem’s family have been informed and are being supported by specially-trained officers, police have confirmed.
The police force is appealing for any information from people who were near the murder scene on King Street – even if they were flouting lockdown rules.
Lancashire Police later confirmed that a murder investigation had been launched following the 19-year-old’s death
DS Holmes said: ‘We understand people may be reluctant to come forward during this time, especially if they have not been following the government guidelines about staying at home, but we would reassure them that our immediate concern is to find out what happened.
‘We urge anyone who has any information, no matter how insignificant they may feel it to be, to come forward and speak to us as a matter of urgency.’
He added: ‘We appreciate this will have caused a lot of worry in the community, but we have deployed significant additional resources, including armed officers, to carry out high visibility patrols in the area to provide reassurance to residents.
‘Anyone with concerns or questions is welcome to speak to those officers.’
Anyone with information is asked to get contact the police on 101, quoting log number 817.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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