Victim: Agnes Sina-Inakoju,[right] 16, was murdered by a teenage gunmanPolice launched a murder hunt today after the 16-year-old schoolgirl who was shot in the neck by a teenage gunman died in hospital with her family at her bedside. The family of Agnes Sina-Inakoju, 16, told of their “complete devastation” and how the award-winning pupil had been caught in the “wrong place at the wrong time”.
Agnes died at 5am, less than 48 hours after she was shot as she chatted with friends at a takeaway restaurant in Hackney. Detectives said today they did not believe that she was the intended target. They are investigating one theory that the hugely popular pupil was the innocent victim of an increasingly violent turf war between Hackney’s teenage drug gangs.
Today Agnes’ older brother Abiodun, 30, told the Standard: “We are all completely devastated. I don’t know how we are going to cope with this. “Mum is in total shock. I can’t put into words how we are feeling at the moment. Agnes was a wonderful person. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need these people to be caught.”
Agnes’ mother Safura had last night spoken for the first time about the shooting, saying that her entire family had gathered at her daughter’s bedside at the Royal London Hospital. Mrs Sina-Inakoju said: “I’m struggling even to talk about it. I’m just so stressed. I wasn’t there with my daughter when it happened. It’s so hard for me. It has been an incredible shock.
“The police are investigating and all I can do is hope they catch the people who did this. I want people to come forward.” Detectives issued a new plea for information about the gunman and his accomplice, who could both be as young as 14 and who fled on mountain bikes. Det Ch Insp John Crossley, leading the investigation, said: “We do not believe that Agnes was the intended victim. The two suspects rode up to the window of the takeaway, one of them fired a shot and Agnes was hit in the neck. We need to trace them as soon as possible and anyone with information should call us.”
The suspects are described as black, one lighter-skinned and the other dark, and aged between 14 and 18. They fled towards Kingsland Road. Agnes, who was expected to get A grades in her GCSEs at Haggerston School in Hackney, was shot in the Hoxton chicken and pizza takeaway at about 7.15pm on Wednesday. About nine teenagers were in the restaurant at the time. Residents today said Agnes was the innocent victim of escalating violence between the London Fields Boys and the rival Hoxton Boys gang. One, who did not want to be named, said Hackney had become a “terrifying” place to live.
He said: “The Hoxton Boys started selling drugs from this street and the London Fields Boys aren’t happy they’re on their patch. And it’s not just boys. Girls ride around on bikes with their hoods up looking to stab other girls.” Another resident said: “The sad fact is this is now a daily occurrence. This part of Hoxton is getting more and more violent. This will keep on happening unless police do something about it.” Police revealed today that just hours after the shooting a gun battle between rival gangsters broke out in the street only a few hundreds yards away.
Detectives are examining possible links with the murder of Agnes. They said two gunmen on a motorbike fired a volley of shots at two men walking along Kingsland Road. The targets then returned fire. The shootings came as Scotland Yard revealed its annual crime figures, showing a major rise in gun crime in London. The number of offences involving guns rose by 12 per cent across the capital in 2009/2010 — but there were even more shocking increases in some boroughs. In Camden the number of gun crime offences was up by 98 per cent, in Southwark by 92 per cent and in Westminster by 62 per cent. In Hackney, the borough where Agnes was shot, gun crime rose by 29 per cent compared with the previous year.
Agnes Sina-Inakoju, 16, was murdered by a teenage gunman