'I wish it had been me': Real target of Hackney drive-by 'distraught' as girl, 9, fights for life

3 June 2024, 08:24 | Updated: 3 June 2024, 10:30

'I wish it had been me': Real target of Hackney drive-by 'distraught' as girl, 9, fights for life
'I wish it had been me': Real target of Hackney drive-by 'distraught' as girl, 9, fights for life. Picture: Alamy / Metropolitan Police

By Danielle De Wolfe

The intended target of a drive-by shooting in Hackney that has left a 9-year-old fighting for her life has said "I wish it was me" after the innocent victim was shot in the head.

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Beytullah Gunduz, 37, who is said to have links to the Turkish criminal underworld, has told friends "that little girl is an innocent person" after the young girl was hit while having dinner with her family on Wednesday.

Friends have described Gunduz as being "distraught" following the incident, which saw three other men shot during the east London drive-by shooting by a hitman on a motorbike on May 29.

The hunt continues for a gunman, with the hit believed to be part of a long running dispute between two rival gangs - the Tottenham Turks and their rivals, the Hackney Turks.

Gunduz, from Finsbury Park, north London, had previously been targeted in a similar shooting in 2020, after he was shot in the neck by a an assassin, only surviving after the hitman's gun jammed.

According to The Times, Gunduz told the friend: “I wish it had been me. Maybe I deserve it. I have not been sleeping for four days.

According to The Times, Gunduz told the friend: “I wish it had been me. Maybe I deserve it. I have not been sleeping for four days.
According to The Times, Gunduz told the friend: “I wish it had been me. Maybe I deserve it. I have not been sleeping for four days. Picture: Met

"I have been praying for her and visiting the mosque. I wish I was still sitting there [outside the restaurant] and the bullet had gone in my head. “

Gunduz is believed to have been sitting with three friends outside Evin Bistro when he got up and left, returning 15 minutes later to discover the hitman opened fire, hitting the three victims and the 9-year-old, who was dining inside the restaurant.

He is reported as saying "that little girl is an innocent person".

"If these people knew I was there why didn't they wait until I left and walked around the corner?"

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One of the men was discharged from hospital the day after the shooting.

A second victim, Mustafa Kiziltan, 37, was discharged from hospital on Friday, having previously been jailed for his involvement in a 2019 acid attack at a Dalston nightclub.

Described as an “innocent victim”, the victim was one of a party of six believed to be dining in the Turkish restaurant on Kingsland High Street when a hitman on a motorbike opened fire.
Described as an “innocent victim”, the victim was one of a party of six believed to be dining in the Turkish restaurant on Kingsland High Street when a hitman on a motorbike opened fire. Picture: Alamy
Authorities rushed to the scene
Authorities rushed to the scene on Kingsland High Street. Picture: Alamy

The third victim, 42, remains in hospital having suffered life-changing injuries.

"We can be criminals but this girl wasn't, she didn't do anything wrong. It is killing me inside. The waiting to know if she is going to live is too much - I am heartbroken," Gunduz is reported to have said, following the Kingsland High Street shooting.

“If these people knew I was there why didn’t they wait until I left and walked around the corner?” he said.

Two other men aged 44 and 42 remain in hospital in a stable condition, with one facing life-changing injuries.

The third man – aged 37 – has been discharged from hospital.

So far, no one has been arrested.

An image has been released of the motorbike
An image has been released of the motorbike. Picture: MPS

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway said the bike, which has since been recovered, was a Ducati Monster with a white body, red chassis and red wheels.

The motorbike had been reported stolen from outside a property in the Wembley area of London in 2021 and at the time of the shooting had the registration plate DP21 0XY.

Mr Conway appealed for anyone who has information on the bike to come forward, adding: "There are people out there who may know something that may be crucial to our investigation".

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Police are searching for a motorbike
Police are searching for a motorbike. Picture: MPS
Police forensic officers near the scene of a shooting at Kingsland High Street
Police forensic officers near the scene of a shooting at Kingsland High Street. Picture: Alamy

Mr Conway described the shooting as "reckless" and appealed to the Turkish and Kurdish communities in north and east London because the three men injured in the incident "have connections to those communities".

He said: "This shocking attack will have had an element of pre-planning.

"This means there are people out there who know something which may be crucial to our investigation.

"Gun crime has no place on the streets of London and this reckless act has left a young child fighting for her life.

"We are specifically reaching out to our Turkish and Kurdish communities, particularly in north and east London, who I know are shocked and appalled by this crime.

"This is because the three men who were shot have connections to those communities."

Erim Metto, CEO of the Turkish Cypriot Association, added: “As a community we are shocked by the incident that occurred at a restaurant in Hackney which has led to four people being shot, including a young child.

“We urge anyone from the Turkish and Kurdish communities that may have any information to come forward and speak to police.

“If you do not feel comfortable to speak with police directly, you may do so through your community leaders, your faith leaders, Turkish Police Association or anonymously through Crimestoppers.

“We as a community stand against violence and gun crime.”

'Senseless'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has described the attack as senseless.

Home Secretary James Cleverly told LBC: "It’s an evolving situation, I’m not comfortable going into details but clearly my thoughts are with those who have been hurt, including the little girl. I will continue to be updated."

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Home Secretary reacts to Hackney shooting

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