Hackney shooting: Restaurant owner tells of horror moment girl, 9, gunned down inside while eating with family

The owner of a Hackney restaurant has described the horrific moment a nine-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by attack while she ate with her family inside.

Eyewitnesses saw a gunman on a motorcycle, which police believe was stolen, spray bullets in the direction of the diners, before speeding away down Kingsland High Street in Dalston.

The young girl had been eating inside the restaurant alongside at least one other child when gunfire erupted on Wednesday evening, the owner of Evin Turkish restaurant has said.

The scene the day after the shooting in Dalston (PA Wire)
The scene the day after the shooting in Dalston (PA Wire)

The restaurant owner, Gazi Degirmenci, told the Guardian: “The child was very lively and really cute.

“I think at the moment the shots were fired she might have been jumping on the chairs … They were having dinner as a family. There was definitely another child, because that child was very scared.”

Mr Degirmenci told the newspaper the shooting was over in around five or 10 seconds, “one minute at most”.

He described how a group sitting outside at the front of the restaurant appeared to be the target of the attack.

The restaurant owner added: “We were in shock and everyone fell to the floor and tried to protect themselves.

“There was loads of shouting and then we realised that one of the bullets had hit a child inside. The child was not with them [the three men outside], she was sitting at a table behind them.”

Speaking in Turkish, Mr Degirmenci said the girl was one of a party of six people including her mother and father.

He described the “unimaginable horror” when the girl’s parents realised what had happened.

He said: “It’s so painful, we are so upset about what happened to that child. The mother was in a really bad way, as you can imagine, really bad, really bad. We tried to help as much as we could, we tried to stop the bleeding … It’s an unimaginable horror.

“I’m not sure about who the three men sitting in the front are, and if it’s some sort of gang war. But the biggest tragedy is clearly the child.”

The child and three men aged 44, 42 and 37, suffered gunshot injuries.

In an update on Friday afternoon, Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway said: “We remain in close contact with our colleagues in the NHS who have worked around the clock to provide urgent care to the victims including the young girl who I am very sad to say remains in a critical condition.

“Specialist family liaison officers continue to support the family. The thoughts of everyone at the Met remain with the girl and her family at this unimaginably difficult time. Two other men aged 44 and 42 remain in hospital in a stable condition but one is facing life-changing injuries.

“The third man aged 37 has been discharged from hospital.”

At this stage, no arrests have been made. The stolen bike was later found dumped at Colvestone Crescent.

Police forensic officers at St Mark Church Dalston near the scene of the shooting (James Manning/PA Wire)
Police forensic officers at St Mark Church Dalston near the scene of the shooting (James Manning/PA Wire)

Forensics were seen searching outside the restaurant on Thursday as well as at St Mark Church around 300 metres away from where the shooting happened.

Loud gunfire can be heard in CCTV footage from a nearby shop. In a clip shared with the Standard shots can be heard ringing out before a motorbike can be heard revving its engine.

A witness who was metres away when the attack happened told the Standard they saw a gunman "on a black motorbike in all black, face not visible, and shot what I remember to be five to six gunshots into the restaurant next door".

They added: "He drove off and a man on a bike ran towards the scene and looked utterly horrified."

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway continued: “This shocking attack will have had an element of preplanning. This means there are people out there who know something that 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.”

He continued: “We are specifically reaching out to our Turdish and Kurkish 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.”

Anyone with information can contact the police on 101 or post @MetCC reference CAD 8082/29May. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.