A murder hunt is underway after a 19 year old Muslim woman was killed in an apparent drive-by shooting in Blackburn yesterday.
Aya Hachem is thought to have been gunned down from a car window just 100 metres from her home at around 3pm.
A vehicle – thought to be a light-coloured, possibly metallic green, Toyota Avensis – was seen leaving the scene. A car matching the same description was later recovered.
Miss Hachem, whose family moved to the UK from Lebanon, had just passed her second-year law exams at the University of Salford and since April 2014 had been a young trustee with The Children’s Society.
Residents have expressed their shock and horror at the murder in broad daylight.
One resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity to LancsLive, said: “We need bulletproof windows. It’s getting worse and worse. My neighbours wont leave their homes. They are frightened to death. I lived in central Manchester for 17 years and this is worse than that.”
Another said: “I’ve lived around here all my life. There’s been things happen before but you don’t expect a shooting in broad daylight. Especially someone so young. She only went shopping to help her parents out. You don’t feel safe anymore, especially with young children.
“I suffer with mental health issues and to know the person is still out there worries me to death. The police are dealing with so much with the pandemic and now this…it’s not right. Some people dont like them but they are risking their lives to protect us.”
Lancashire Constabulary have said they are not treating the shooting as a terrorist incident.
They issued the following statement yesterday: “Officers, including armed police, are currently in the King Street area of Blackburn following an incident this afternoon (Sunday).
“We were called at around 3pm to reports a woman had been found unresponsive on King Street, close to Lidl, following gunshots being heard in the area. The woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries. No arrests have been made but an investigation to establish exactly what occurred, and who is responsible, is very much underway.
“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. Anybody with information about the incident, or who witnessed the incident, is urged to contact us urgently on 101, quoting log 817 of May 17th.”
Aya Hachem’s family have asked the public not to share images of Aya without them being blurred.