Street party shotgun attack ‘could have led to multiple deaths’
Police treat Manchester shootings as attempted murder amid claim carnival became like ‘Wild West’
A SHOTGUN attack in Manchester that left 12 victims, including two children, in hospital had the potential to have resulted in multiple deaths, police have said.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) is treating the attack as attempted murder and last night were searching for the attacker and the weapon.
The shooting happened at 2.25am yesterday during a street party that followed the annual Caribbean Carnival in Moss Side.
A former Manchester council official said that each year the carnival degenerated “from a family atmosphere to the Wild West” after dark, with police afraid to leave their vehicles and willing to turn a blind eye to all but the most serious crimes.
The force denied the accusations. A police source said officers, both armed and unarmed, had been on foot patrol in the vicinity and had responded to reports of a gunshot within one minute.
It comes after gun crime offences in London were revealed earlier this year to have jumped 42 per cent, from 1,793 offences in 2015/16 to 2,544 last year.
In yesterday’s attack, police responded to reports of two loud bangs. Ch Supt Wasim Chaudhry of GMP said: “What they were faced with was a large crowd of people continuing to celebrate the carnival. There was a state of panic. Officers carried out first aid. Ten people have received injuries which were related to gun shot. Probably a shotgun discharge. How many times it was discharged is unclear.”
During the course of yesterday two further victims presented themselves at hospital with injuries, which are not thought to be serious.
The youngest victim is 12 and the oldest is in their 50s, with injuries consistent with pellet wounds from a shotgun or air rifle. Forensics reports have led police to conclude the weapon was probably a shotgun.
The most seriously injured person has a broken leg, although it is not clear if this was a direct result of gunfire.
Detectives are still working to establish the motive behind the attack, but are currently treating it as attempted murder. Nick Buckley, who worked in police stations with Manchester’s crime and disorder team as a council safety manager, told The Daily Telegraph he had warned repeatedly that the carnival had the potential to descend into violence. “During the day it’s a lovely family atmosphere, it’s a great carnival for people,” he said.
“When night comes it’s the Wild West. Police officers have said to me, when they’re working it, they don’t get out of their vehicles. They only deal with the most serious incidents. Everything less serious than a shooting is practically ignored. It’s a sense of ‘everything else, we’ll look at that after the carnival’.”
Mr Buckley, who left the council after the riots of 2011 to found a youth outreach charity, added: “For that weekend in that area, it seems that every law we have in the country doesn’t apply any more to that part of Moss Side.”
A spokesman for GMP said the accusation was “not correct”, pointing out officers were on foot patrol in the area at the time of the shooting.
Earlier in the day, crowds of more than 16,000 had enjoyed an extravaganza of live music and colourful costumes at the annual celebration of Caribbean culture in nearby Alexandra Park. Police are not drawing a link between the carnival and the shooting.
‘For that weekend in that area, it seems that every law we have in the country doesn’t apply any more to that part of Moss Side’
Greater Manchester Police’s Tactical Aid Unit carries out a fingertip search of the scene. Above, the Caribbean Carnival procession