The mother of a teenager suspected of shooting a 15-year-old friend said she thought he had been at school, as police charged a youth over the attack.
Detectives investigating the shooting said they had recovered a “long-barrelled gun” thought to have been used to critically injure the schoolboy at around 8.40am on Monday in the Ipswich suburb of Kesgrave.
A youth was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder around two hours after the shooting by armed police officers who found him hiding in a garden close to where his grandfather is understood to run an Ipswich building design consultancy.
A teenage boy, also aged 15, from the Woodbridge area, was charged with attempted murder and firearms offences on Tuesday night. He was remanded in custody and will appear via video link before Norwich Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
Detectives had earlier been granted an extension to detain him for a further 12 hours for questioning.
The mother of the suspect, who is also 15, told The Sun: “It’s obviously serious. I’m shocked, I thought my boy was at school. I just don’t know anything about the boy who has been shot, so I’m just worried sick. I’m waiting for the police to come round. I haven’t been able to speak to my son, I haven’t been able to see him.”
Police would not discuss the suspected motive of the shooting, but senior officers said they have ruled out organised crime or gangland connections. There is speculation the attack may have taken place as a result of an intense argument or dispute between the two teenagers.
The gun was recovered from inside a car matching the description of the one seen leaving the crime scene. The vehicle was seized at the time of the arrest.
The victim suffered a single gunshot to the head and underwent 90 minutes of first aid at the scene before being flown to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, where he was operated on.
Senior officers said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack, but said a high police presence would remain in the area to provide reassurance for residents.
Temporary Detective Superintendent David Henderson, the senior investigating officer, said: "I appreciate that many people will still be very concerned at an attack of this nature happening in a small town such as Kesgrave, but we continue to stress that incidents like this are extremely rare and that there is no wider threat to the local community.
"In addition, following the initial inquiries that have been carried out, we can confirm that the victim and the suspect are known to each other and at this time there is absolutely nothing to suggest this incident is linked to organised criminality."
Neighbours of the injured boy's family in Kesgrave have spoken of their shock at the attack, which took place just yards from his parents' home in a leafy, quiet neighbourhood.
One middle-aged woman described the wounded teenager, who remains in a critical condition at Addenbrooke's, as a "lovely lad" who attended nearby Kesgrave High School.
The woman, who works as a chemist, told The Telegraph she spoke to the 15-year-old two days before he was shot. "He was smiling as always and said hello to me," she said. "He was cheerful as he always was, and I can’t believe just two days later he was shot like that."
The woman said the victim had been wearing trainers and a grey tracksuit when she saw him near his home in Friends Walk.
"He always says hello when he sees me. They are a lovely family, very nice, and I hate to imagine what they're going through now," she added. "It's very sad. We moved here from another part of Ipswich because it’s a lovely area."