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Boy, 12, shot in drive-by shooting in Sheffield while standing outside sandwich shop with friends
13 January 2020, 15:39
A 12-year-old boy who was shot in the leg in Sheffield is likely to be an innocent bystander who was "caught in the line of fire", police have said.
The youngster is set to have surgery on his injured thigh after being injured while standing outside a sandwich shop with his friends, aged 13, 15, and 16, at around 3.45pm on Sunday on Northern Avenue, in the Arbourthorne area of Sheffield.
South Yorkshire Police said the group were outside when a white car, believed to be a Ford Focus, drove past and the gunman opened fire
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber described the incident as "horrendous".
Mr Forber added that he believed another male in the area had been the target of the attack, and that it related to a fall-out between two organised crime groups.
He said: "This is a shocking incident, it's impossible for anyone who's a parent - I'm a parent of a 12-year-old myself - not to imagine quite how horrific this is, and how the young boy's parents must be feeling at this stage."
He added: "It's really important to say that we do not believe that the victim or his friends were the target, and they are entirely innocent bystanders to this incident."
The officer added that the boy's injuries were not life-threatening and that he was set to undergo surgery later on Monday.
"We suspect this is about a dispute between two organised crime groups and it is linked to a number of incidents that have taken place since mid-November," Mr Forber added.
But he also said that police are keeping an "open mind" as to how the shooting came about.
He reassured local residents that "enhanced and visible patrols" will continue in the area as the incident is investigated.
Mr Forber said: "This was a horrendous crime. A 12-year-old innocent boy has suffered a gunshot injury. He was a young lad, looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon with his mates.
"The answer to this lies within the community. We know, I know, that an incident like this strikes absolute fear in the heart of the community, that's obvious.
"But I also know that the people who perpetrate this kind of violence rely on that fear, they rely on people not coming forward, they rely on people being scared, that's how they carry on their business."
He renewed a call for any witnesses or anybody with information on the incident to come forward to police.