We Close Our Eyes Go West
27 May 2011, 10:07
Two teenagers have been murdered by a gunman who shot them as they were chased out of an alleyway.
Mohammed Farah, 19, and his 18-year-old friend were ambushed on the Fishermead, Milton Keynes on Thursday night (May 26th).
As they ran out into Fishermead Boulevard - close to the city's main shopping centre - they were both shot.
Mohammed, from Birmingham, died at the scene. The 18 year old boy died while under armed guard at Milton Keynes hospital.
Today (Friday May 27th) detectives from Thames Valley Police said they were trying to establish a motive for the attack.
Residents said the murder could be gang, race or drug-related. One white woman, who refused to be named, said: "It could be drugs, could be gangs or could be race related.
"In the past there has been trouble between white youths and some of the Somalis. You would often get groups of 50 or so Somali young boys sitting out of the grass here together. It is a funny area there are groups of Somalis, groups of people from Eritrea and there are groups of Poles."
Members of the 10,000 strong Somali community in Milton Keynes gathered at the murder scene to pay their respects. Women in colourful head scarves were wailing in grief.
The area was cordoned off by police and a large blue tent covered the spot where the teenager died.
Isabella Fraser, 75, a Lib Dem ward councillor and Chair of the local Equality council said: "It is a great shame. We have been working hard to integrate the communities.
"The trouble is we have transitory populations and people do not have roots in the community. Many people have not lived here long. There are a large number of Somalians here, East Europeans and Ghanians and Kenyans.
"I have seen the mother of the 19 year old boy this morning and she is devastated."
Mohammed - who had been named as the victim by his family - was said to be an intelligent boy who intended to go to university.
He was born in Norway to Somalian parents. He had three brothers and a sister and had been living with his mother Fadumo Ahmed in Birmingham where he was going to attend a college access course so that he could apply to university to do business.
Accountant Sharmaarke Mohammed, 38, an uncle of Mohammed said: "When I heard he had been killed I thought he must have been visiting his father in Somalia in Somalia - which is a war-torn country - not Milton Keynes which we thought was peaceful.
"He was a well-behaved and likeable with a lot of friends. As far as I know he had not been in any trouble with the police.
"There are two stories about what happened. One is that he was the victim of a drive by shooting, but as the gun was fired at the two of them I don't think that is likely. I think it is more likely that he and his friend had been chased up the alleyway and the gunman was waiting for them."
Mr Mohammed said he did not know the name of the other boy who was shot, saying that he was a friend of his nephew who lived in London.
Another uncle Ahmed Hassan said: "It is terrible news. I don't know what it was about. His mother lives in Birmingham and she called me at half past two this morning to tell me what had happened.
"I spoke to him at 9.30 on Thursday night and he was fine."
Detective Superintendent Rob Mason, who is leading the investigation, said: "We believe the victims in this incident are friends, but we do not know if the offender is known to them.
"The second man is critically ill with a gun shot wound to his head and is currently under an armed guard at Milton Keynes hospital for his own protection.
"I realise there is a lot of concern in the community as well as a lot of speculation about the reasons behind this incident. We are still trying to establish the facts and cannot be drawn on rumours and speculation.
"We have a large and highly visible police presence in the area which should provide some reassurance to the community at this time.
"I continue to anyone who has any information about this incident to contact the police urgently."
Thames Valley police confirmed the second teenager had died. A spokesman said: "He was pronounced dead at Milton Keynes hospital at 1.32pm today."