Young woman shot dead near a supermarket and was found in Blackburn
Young woman shot dead near a supermarket and was found with fatal injuries in King Street in Blackburn – A young woman shot dead near a supermarket was not the intended target, police have said. Aya Hachem was found with fatal injuries in King Street in Blackburn, close to Lidl, on Sunday. The 19-year-old law student, described as “truly remarkable”, was going to the shop at about 15:00 BST when she was shot from a passing car, police said.
A Toyota Avensis, believed to have been used in the killing, was later found abandoned on Wellington Road. A number of occupants were in the car, which has the registration number SV53 UBP, as it passed Ms Hachem, police said. Detectives have urged “anyone with information to search their consciences and come forward”.
“There is no evidence to suggest Aya was the intended target of this attack and every indication is that she was an innocent passerby,” the force said. Ms Hachem’s parents have paid tribute to the “most loyal devoted daughter” who “dreamed of becoming a solicitor”. “We are absolutely devastated by her death and would like to take this opportunity to plead with any members of the public who may have any information however small that may bring those responsible to justice,” they said.
Ms Hachem was one of four siblings and lived in Blackburn after travelling to the UK about nine years ago, her cousin Hassan told the BBC. Her family are waiting for the investigation to finish so they can take her body back to Lebanon to be buried in her home village Qlaileh, he said.
Ms Hachem, who was a young trustee for the Children’s Society, was described as a “truly remarkable young woman, and an inspiring voice for children and young people” by its chief executive Mark Russell. Dr Janice Allan, Dean of Salford Business School, said Ms Hachem was “a very popular and promising second year student whose contribution went beyond the classroom”.
The Asylum and Refugee Community, a charity working with asylum seekers and refugees in the Blackburn and Darwen area, said Ms Hachem had been the victim of “a horrific senseless attack”. “It is with great sadness and heartache we have to share with you that we have lost Aya, beloved eldest daughter of Samar and Ismael from Lebanon,” it added.
Image caption Ms Hachem was found with fatal injuries in King Street at about 15:00 BST on Sunday
The family of Yousef Makki, who was stabbed to death in Hale Barns in 2019, have also paid tribute to the 19-year-old. “Another act of senseless violence that has ripped apart another family, our hearts and thoughts go out to Aya and her family at this heart-breaking time,” said the Makki family, who were friends with Ms Hachem’s family.
Police have said the force is not treating the killing as a terror-related incident and also do not believe it was a racially-motivated. “This is a truly shocking and senseless killing, which has robbed a young woman of her life,” said Det Supt Jonathan Holmes.
“We appreciate this will have caused a lot of worry in the community, but we have deployed significant additional resources, including armed officers, to carry out high-visibility patrols in the area to provide reassurance to residents.”
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