Detectives investigating the death of Aya Hachem, 19, from Blackburn have made three arrests.
The men, aged 39, 33 and 36, from Blackburn have been detained on suspicion of murder and are currently in police custody.
The arrests come following an appeal by detectives today (Monday, May 18th), who urged anyone with information to search their consciences and come forward. Their appeal continues.
Aya (pictured below) was shot in broad daylight yesterday (Sunday, May 17th) whilst out shopping at around 3pm, close to the Lidl supermarket on King Street in Blackburn.
Emergency services attended and she was taken to hospital but was sadly pronounced dead a short time later.
Officers are still urging witnesses or anyone who knows anything about the incident and who was involved to make contact. The officer leading the investigation, Det Supt Andy Cribbin from Lancashire’s Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT) said: “We are on with a number of lines of enquiry which includes looking at CCTV in the area and we have spoken to a number of key witnesses.
“Despite that, and the arrests, this is a live investigation and I am asking anyone who might know anything about what happened, or the circumstances leading up to Aya being senselessly killed to speak to us . Any piece of information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could prove vital to our investigation.”
Aya had been walking to the Lidl supermarket on King Street when she was killed. It is known that a light green Toyota Avensis drove past her, with a number of occupants on board. Shots were fired from the vehicle and sadly, one of them struck and killed her.
The Avensis, bearing the registration number SV53 UBP, was later recovered from nearby Wellington Road. It has been seized for forensic examination. People who may have seen it in the lead up to what happened or in the days and weeks before, are being asked to contact the police.
Det Supt Cribbin continued: “There is no evidence to suggest Aya was the intended target of this attack and every indication is that she was an innocent passer-by, making this all the more tragic. We are determined to find who did this to Aya, particularly for her family, who are understandably devastated at their loss. Our thoughts remain with them.
“We are also continuing to stress that incident is not being treated as terrorism-related or a racially-motivated attack.”
Earlier today, Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, of Lancashire Police, said: “In the last 24 hours we have learnt that Aya was a much-loved family member and friend who was enjoying her studies at the University of Salford. She also gave her time to being a young trustee of the Children’s Society. For her life to have been cut short like this is unthinkable and her family are understandably utterly distraught.
“We appreciate this incident will have caused a huge amount of worry in the community, and we would like to reassure residents that we have deployed significant additional resources, including armed officers, to carry out high visibility patrols in the area. Anyone with concerns or questions is welcome to speak to those officers.
“We appreciate people may not want to get involved and may be reluctant to come forward, but an innocent young woman has been killed in broad daylight and we are asking anybody with any information at all to search their consciences and get in touch to tell us what they know.”
Any information or footage can be sent in to us via the major incident portal at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/0401020120E05-PO1
Anybody with any other information is asked to get in touch on 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18th, or anonymously via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org