WALTHAM FOREST: Specialist police to be drafted in following violence (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Specialist police to be drafted in following violence
EXTRA police are being drafted in after a week of violence on the streets of Waltham Forest ended in a 39-year-old being gunned down in a quiet residential street.
The murder on Monday followed two street stabbings and reports of gunfire near a children’s playground.
Police are hunting a lone gunman after a man was found with multiple bullet wounds in Higham Station Road, south Chingford, at 11.15pm and died later in hospital.
The victim has not been formally identified, but tributes left by family at the scene name him as Wayne.
Police are not connecting the murder with other recent violent attacks in Waltham Forest, in which two men were stabbed within four days.
A 21-year-old man was left fighting for his life after being knifed in the stomach in Leyton High Road, between the Coopers Lane and Brewsters Road junctions, at 2.45am on Monday.
A group of young people ran for their lives when gunshots were fired as two men approached in nearby Abbots Park on Friday at 4pm. There are no reports of any injuries.
Four days before, a 19-year-old was attacked by a group of four hooded men in Rhodesia Road, Leytonstone, as children made their way home from school at 4pm.
The attacks follow two shootings in the Higham Hill area of Walthamstow within ten days last month.
All victims are expected to make full recoveries.
No-one has been arrested in connection with the murder or the other attacks.
Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, Deputy Borough Commander Sue Williams said extra police units were being drafted in to the borough to cope with the upsurge in violence.
But she added a lack of co-operation from victims and witnesses was frustrating the hunt.
Det Supt Sue Williams said: “The core element of youngsters that are getting stabbed and shot don’t want to talk to us.
“They know exactly who has shot or stabbed them and the reasons why.
“They also think they can deal with it in their own way”.
But Det Supt Williams said her force would not be deterred by hostile witnesses, and was now looking to build a case without the co-operation of the victims, which is done with some domestic violence offences.
“If (victims) think they can keep quiet and nothing will happen, they are wrong, we will not tolerate this violence,” she added.
She said a four-week operation would see borough officers, joined by officers from specialist units, target problem areas.
“We’ve been doing a lot around youth violence,” she said.
A resident of Tudor Road, who lives yards from where floral tributes have been laid, said: “We heard four loud bangs. I looked out the window but couldn’t see anyone.
“It sounded like a car backfiring. My husband was downstairs and he said he didn’t think it sounded like a gun.
“I have lived here 18 years and have never really had any problems.
“My theory is, if someone is shooting someone at point blank range, maybe four times, they probably knew them and it was targeted. If it seemed more random I would worry more.”
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