Call for tighter gun laws after funeral shooting leaves girl, seven, critical

A drive-by shooting that hurt six people including two children has sparked Labour calls for gun laws to be tightened up.

Mourners attending a memorial service for a young woman and her mother came under gunfire outside St Aloysius Church in Phoenix Road, Euston, central London, on Saturday.

A seven-year-old girl is in a critical condition after being shot, while a 48-year-old woman suffered a potentially life-changing injury.

Another girl, 12, was hit in the leg, and three other women, 21, 41 and 54, were also hurt.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, MP for the area, said the shooting and other atrocities, like the killing of five people in Keyham, Plymouth, in 2021, show the need for gun law reforms.

“We’ve had these incidents from time to time with guns,” he told LBC Radio.

“And every time there is, there’s evidence, which I am concerned about, that people have access to guns that they shouldn’t have access to.

“Now, if it’s illegal access, obviously, that’s a pure matter of the criminal law.

“But other people, where better checks should be taken over circulation of guns…

“So I think that we need to look again as to whether those laws are strong enough. That may or may not help this particular case.”

Shotgun pellets were fired from a black Toyota C-HR at around 1.30pm on Saturday, police said, and the next day officers arrested a 22-year-old man in Barnet, north London, on suspicion of attempted murder.

Footage of armed police officers surrounding a black hatchback and ordering two men to get out and on to the ground was obtained by The Sun.

A forensic officer in a white suit kneeling on the pavement with two uniformed officers standing either side.
A police forensics officer works near the scene of the shooting (PA)

Cardinal Vincent Nichols from St Aloysius Church called on parishioners to pray for those caught up in the shooting.

In a statement on the church’s website, he said: “Please continue to keep all involved in this terrible incident in your prayers, especially the young girl whose injuries are reported to be serious.

“I am most grateful to Fr Jeremy Trood for the manner in which he has handled this most difficult and tragic incident, in which the Church was used as a shelter and a place of recovery for many who were present at that time.

“I extend my sympathy and support to the family and friends who came together to pray for the souls of their loved ones who had died and who have been confronted with an outrageous act of violence leaving some injured and all in distress.”

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The shots sent mourners running and screaming, with many sheltering inside the church, witnesses said.

The memorial service was a requiem Mass for Sara Sanchez, 20, and her mother Fresia Calderon, 50, who died in November.

Ms Sanchez suffered from leukaemia for three years before succumbing to the disease after her mother died suddenly from a rare blood clot on arrival at Heathrow from Colombia, MyLondon reported.

Anyone who saw the shooting or has information about what happened can call 101, giving the reference 3357/14JAN, while information can also be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.