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‘Wild West gunfight’ on the streets of London: Moment feuding gangsters opened fire outside London church with pistols and Uzi machine gun hitting two innocent bystanders – as four are jailed for more than 60 years
- Four thugs were jailed for more than 60 years in total for the shooting in 2017
- Two other gang members involved are awaiting sentencing in February next year
- At least 34 rounds were fired from six weapons at an event in Leyton, London
- CCTV showed two rival gangs firing at each other on the street, the court heard
- Investigating officer police Matt Webb said the shooting was like the ‘Wild West’
Four gunmen have been jailed for more than 60 years in total after six gangsters shot down innocent bystanders outside a church in a gang war described as being ‘like the Wild West’.
Two rivaling gangs armed with six guns began shooting at each other at a ticketed event in a church hall at Rigg Approach in Leyton, north London, at 5.04am on October 28, 2017.
Around 300 partygoers ran for their lives as at least eight rounds were fired from an Uzi sub-machine gun inside the packed venue before the six gang members continued the gun fight on the street.
Two innocent bystanders, a 41-year-old man and a woman in her 20s, were injured in the crossfire inside the church hall, the court heard. There were no fatalities.
The shooting, which saw at least 34 rounds discharged in total, was described by a Metropolitan police officer as like something from the ‘Wild West’.
Three men and one woman – Michael Lawrence, Kamal Lorren Parrish, Shearine Andrea Thompson and Sinan Ozger – were sentenced to a total of more than 60 years’ imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court after a three-year investigation.
Two other gang members involved in the shooting – Haramein Jelani Mohammed and Jacob Joseph Maitland – will be sentenced on February 24 next year.
Shocking CCTV footage from outside the church showed terrified partygoers fleeing for their lives and sheltering behind vehicles as the gunmen fired at each other with an Uzi sub-machine gun and other weapons.
Two rivaling gangs armed with six guns began shooting at each other at a ticketed event in a church hall at Rigg Approach, Leyton, at 5.04am on October 28, 2017
Speaking to MailOnline, investigating officer Matt Webb described the shooting as like something out of a ‘wild west gunfight’ and said the weapons used had no place on the streets of London or even in ‘a warzone’.
Mr Webb said it is almost unheard of to have six weapons at a single shooting, saying it was the first time he has dealt with it in his three years working with the Metropolitan Police Service unit Trident, which investigates gun crime.
He said: ‘Within the crime scene, it was very, very evident that what occurred was something almost out of a wild west gunfight… There were at least 34 shots fired… It is somewhat unheard of that you see so many weapons in one place.’
Mr Webb, whose team took on the investigation one day after the shooting, said it was ‘just by sheer luck’ that nobody was killed in the crossfire.
He continued: ‘The big thing for me is how fortunate we are that we didn’t have a murder or several murders that evening. It was just by sheer luck that they wayward bullets didn’t strike somebody and cause more significant injury.’
The catalyst for the shooting was an ongoing dispute between Jacob Joseph Maitland, 34, and Kamal Lorren Parrish, 30, according to police.
CCTV footage from outside the church shows terrified partygoers fleeing for their lives as the gunmen fire at each other with an Uzi sub-machine gun and other weapons
Ozger, Thompson and Maitland had travelled to Rigg Approach together in a stolen car on the night of the shooting, while Parrish, Lawrence and Mohammed were seen together outside the venue two hours before the incident.
At least eight rounds were fired within the church, which was packed with 300 partygoers, immediately after Ozger, Maitland and Thompson entered the venue.
Two innocent victims were shot and injured inside the venue, before the rivaling gangs continued to fire at each other on the street, CCTV showed.
Police, including firearms officers, rushed to the scene shortly after 5am on October 28, 2017, and discovered a 41-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left thigh. He was treated on the scene by paramedics and taken to hospital.
A female victim in her 20s presented herself to an east London hospital with gunshot wounds to her chest, with Mr Webb saying she was fortunate the injury was not ‘fatal’. Neither of the victims received any long term effects from the injuries.
At least 34 shots were fired from six different firearms, the police forensic firearms unit determined, which was described by Mr Webb as ‘unheard’ of on the streets of London.
He said: ‘I don’t want Londoners feeling frightened that there are people firing automatic weapons all over the place.
‘The semi-automatic pistols are clearly what we see more. Six firearms in one place is relatively unheard of.’
Investigating officer Matt Webb described the shooting as like something out of the ‘wild west’ and said the weapons used had no place on the streets of London or even in ‘a warzone’
CCTV footage showed Michael Lawrence, 23, fire ten shots using the Uzi sub-machine pistol outside the venue.
Mr Webb said: ‘[The Uzi] has no rights anywhere to be involved on the streets of London, let alone even in a war zone.
‘There were 18 rounds fired from that weapon. I spoke to NABIS [National Ballistics Intelligence Service] and it was one of only two discharges of an Uzi submachine pistol in five years, nationally.
‘We are extremely fortunate that it is a rarity that we see weaponry of that type being discharged on the streets of London.’
At least eight rounds were fired within the church from an Uzi sub-machine gun, before the gun fight continued on the street.
Parrish fired two rounds from a Sig Sauer firearm, Maitland fired three shots from a Makarov self-loading pistol and Ozger fired five rounds from a Tokarev self-loading pistol.
Mr Webb said police believe an incident in August 2017, when Maitland was shot at the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham, North London, was a ‘precursor’ event to this shooting.
He added: ‘Maitland had been shot in August, it had all boiled over and that had been a result of him coming to undertake this shooting in the October.’
Detectives from Trident sifted through hundreds of hours of CCTV and discovered that some of the suspects were seen using their mobile phones on the night of the shooting.
The catalyst for the shooting was an ongoing dispute between Jacob Joseph Maitland (left), 34, and Kamal Lorren Parrish (right), 30, according to police
Officers were able to correlate their phone movements alongside the CCTV to prove that the individuals shown on the footage were the defendants.
Speaking about the footage, Mr Webb said he could only imagine the ‘trauma’ the 300 innocent bystanders experienced after having to hide to ‘avoid being shot’.
He added: ‘I can only imagine the traumatic effect, the psychological effect that has had on them. When they are trying to take cover to try and avoid being shot.
‘A lot of what was going on at the time with terrorism and the threats from terrorism, you can only imagine what is going through people’s minds.’
Two hours before the shooting, Parrish, Lawrence and Mohammed, along with unidentified others, were seen on CCTV constructing a Uzi sub-machine pistol, which Mr Webb said proved the shooting was premeditated.
Describing their behaviour as ‘meerkat-like’, Mr Webb said: ‘They were stood upright, their eyes looking up and down the road. A vehicle enters the road and they appear concerned by the appearance of this vehicle.
‘At that point, they stand behind a van, which is on CCTV, and they remove the Uzi submachine pistol from a bag and they can clearly be seen constructing it at that point, as if ready to fire.
‘Whatever threat they believed was present passed, it didn’t occur, and they then continue back into the venue to enjoy themselves.
‘Although they were there for this event, they were ready for whatever threat they perceived they were going to be met by, which transpired two hours later to be Ozger and Maitland.’
It is not known whether the deconstructed Uzi was taken back into the venue, but eight rounds were fired from an Uzi sub-machine pistol two hours later from within the church.
Haramein Jelani Mohammed, 35, of Hackney, London, was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life
Although there was not CCTV in the church hall, a nine-second video was uploaded to Instagram and Facebook and was later recovered by officers.
Mr Webb said the clip showed jubilant partygoers dancing followed by the ‘very loud reverberation of gunshots in an enclosed space’.
Before Ozger, Maitland and Thompson entered the venue and shots were fired, the trio allegedly robbed people at gunpoint after arriving in a stolen car, according to Mr Webb.
He explained: ‘When you look at the CCTV, Ozger and Maitland turn up with Thompson in a stolen vehicle.
‘They actually rob a number of people at gunpoint from where they park their vehicle on approach to enter the venue.
‘They appear to be taking items off people’s wrists, like watches. We were never able to prove or disprove if that had taken place.’
After analysing CCTV, police were able to determine that the stolen Peugeot motor car was used by Thompson in October 2017. She was not a suspect at the time.
Thompson was arrested for unrelated drug offences and her phone was seized, where officers discovered messages that led them to Ozger.
Text messages showed Ozger had asked Thompson to get a car for him, and she had then messaged another person asking for cloned plates for that same make and model of car.
Communications data showed that Ozger and Thompson had been in contact on the night of the shooting and, along with Maitland, had travelled to Rigg Approach together in the stolen vehicle.
The police investigation was reliant on CCTV to identify the suspects, Mr Webb said, as the 300 partygoers were reluctant to speak to officers, who were met by a ‘wall of silence’.
Mr Webb said: ‘There were certainly people there at that venue who knew what had happened, or had a very good idea, or could have assisted us, but whether that be through concerns of repercussions or concerns of being seen as liaising with the police, people were reluctant to come forward.’
On 18 May, 2018, following the execution of search warrants, Mohammed, Ozger and Ekwubiri were all arrested at their home addresses. Lawrence was arrested a short while later.
Clothing seized from the addresses appeared identical to that worn by the offenders on the night of the offences.
On 15 July, 2019, Thompson, Ozger and Maitland were charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent against Mohammed, Parrish and Lawrence.
The same charges were made against Mohammed, Parrish and Lawrence on a reciprocal basis.
After the suspects were arrested, Mr Webb’s team worked through a ‘mountain’ of CCTV and body-worn video footage to prove the defendants had previously been stopped together and it was not a coincidence they were together the night of the shooting.
Michael Lawrence, 23, of Tipton, West Midlands, was sentenced to 15 years and six months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life
He added: ‘With conspiratorial offending, it’s not your smoking gun. You haven’t got your DNA or a fingerprint in blood left at a crime scene, which is really conclusive.’
Ahead of the sentencing, Mr Webb said he hoped the defendants’ jail time would show the ‘dangerousness’ of their actions and serve justice to the two victims.
Mr Webb predicted that the court would issue the defendants, who are charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent or intent to endanger life, with prison sentences of between 16 and 20 years.
The six defendants were sentenced to more than 60 years’ imprisonment in total on September 17 and November 5 at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Ozger and Thompson were the latest of the gang members to the jailed at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being found guilty last August.
Shearine Andrea Thompson, 42, of Tottenham, north London, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.
Sinan Ozger, 33, of Tottenham, north London, was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, surrounding the use of a Makarov self-loading pistol and a Tokarev self-loading pistol.
Parrish and Lawrence, who had been found guilty on March 12 following a four-week trial at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court, were jailed in September.
Michael Lawrence, 23, of Tipton, West Midlands, was sentenced to 15 years and six months’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life. This related to the possession and use of an Uzi sub-machine pistol and a Sig Sauer self-loading pistol.
Kamal Lorren Parrish, 30, of Enfield, north London, was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life. He possessed and used a Uzi sub-machine pistol and a Sig Sauer self-loading pistol.
Mohammed and Maitland will both be sentenced on February 24 next year.
Haramein Jelani Mohammed, 35, of Hackney, inner London, was convicted of grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, also relating to the possession and use of an Uzi sub-machine pistol and a Sig Sauer self-loading pistol.
Jacob Joseph Maitland, 34, of Tottenham, north London, pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life on May 27, 2020.
The stolen Peugeot motor car had been utilised by Shearine Andrea Thompson (left). She was arrested for unrelated offences and her text messages connected her to Sinan Ozger (right)
Detective Inspector Matthew Webb, Senior Investigating Officer for the investigation, said: ‘The CCTV from this offence, plays like a scene from a movie – unfortunately though this was a real-life event that took place on our streets in London and it was by sheer luck that no further significant injuries were caused.
‘The effect the criminal use of firearms has in our communities is not lost on us – and I hope the sentences imposed today send a strong message to those involved in firearms criminality. Your actions are reprehensible and we will seek to bring you to justice.
‘This investigation has taken place over a number of years and demonstrates the commitment the Met has to holding those involved in the commission of violent offending to account.
‘I would like to thank my investigation team, Crown Prosecution Team and Prosecuting Counsel for their support during the course of this complex investigation and for making London safer.
‘The Met is committed to reducing violent crime. However, we also rely on our communities to help us and I would urge anyone with information about someone who may be carrying a weapon to contact police immediately whether in person or anonymously.’
Mr Webb insisted that the Metropolitan Police will do everything they can to get the three remaining weapons at large off the streets of London, adding that it is possible they are moving around different criminal groups.
He added: ‘The full strength of the Met will carry on to develop enquiries to lead to the recovery of these weapons.
‘It might be two years down the line, it could be five years down the line, and it might be that it has passed through many hands at that point.’
Anyone with information about violent crime should call police on 101 or Tweet @MetCC. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Any young people who have information about violence, firearms or knife crime, can visit Fearless where they can pass on information anonymously. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is independent of the police.
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