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Gunman hunted after man dies in Essex hotel car park shooting

Published 08/12/2015

Essex Police are not treating the shooting as a terrorist incident
Essex Police are not treating the shooting as a terrorist incident

A gunman remains on the run after a fatal shooting in a hotel car park.

Essex Police launched a manhunt to find the killer, who gunned down a man in his 20s at the Marriott Hotel on Old Shire Lane in Waltham Abbey on Tuesday morning.

The victim got into a passing couple's car after being shot at around 9.50am, and drove to the nearby Volunteer pub where they tried to get him help. He was treated by paramedics but died.

Rob Chapman, landlord of the Woodbine Inn, said he was told: "It started at the Marriott Hotel, then he got in this couple's car, got shot again and ended up in the car park of the Volunteer."

Essex Police are scouring the area to find the killer and are working with Scotland Yard and other neighbouring forces in the hunt.

General manager of the Volunteer Jonathan Park said: " We have provided as much assistance as we are able to and we are very grateful to the police for the very fast response and for such professional handling of a dreadful situation.

"Although not involved in the incident itself the pub will be closed during the investigation and alternative arrangements will be made for our valued guests."

This afternoon police officers were seen holding up sheets to shield people leaving the pub from view.

An Essex police spokesman said that armed officers "secured" the hotel site and detectives were speaking to witnesses. The shooting is not being treated as a terrorist incident.

Chief Superintendent Luke Collison said: "Essex Police has mobilised a number of officers including armed units in response to this incident.

"At this time there is no evidence to suggest that there is any threat to the wider public or any link to terrorism.

"We will be constantly reassessing the information we receive as the investigation progresses to ensure that the safety of the public remains paramount.

"If anyone was at the hotel or in the Old Shire Lane area at the time of the shooting and has information of use to our enquiry I would urge them to contact us on 101."

The four-star hotel, which boasts a swimming pool and fitness centre, is close to the M25 motorway. The exit sliproads at junction 26 were closed as the police investigation went on.

Caroline Jenkins, director of sales at the hotel, said that the venue remained open and it was "business as usual".

A spokeswoman for the chain said: "The police are conducting a thorough investigation and we are fully assisting with this process.

"We would like to reassure our guests that safety and security continues to be of paramount importance and we have robust security protocols in place at all our Marriott International hotels."

Residents in the area spoke of their shock after hearing about the shooting.

One woman, who did not want to be named, said: "I was walking back past the hotel and it must have been just after it happened because the police were shutting off the road.

"I thought someone had been run over, I never thought it would be a shooting.

"It's a bit frightening that the guy is still out there, I've double locked all my doors."

Another resident, who also did not want to be named, said: "This is a lovely town and a nice area, we never get any sort of trouble. I was so shocked when I heard what had happened, it's awful.

"They haven't caught the killer either so I'm staying locked in my house tonight."

A police cordon was in place on the road beside the Marriott Hotel and a white forensic tent had been erected in the car park.

Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing said the killer and the victim were known to each other.

"I understand that the initial incident took place at the Marriott Hotel but the man died further down the road near the Volunteer pub," she said.

"There is nothing to suggest that this has anything to do with terrorism. It would appear that the two men were known to each other."

Superintendent Trevor Roe told the BBC police were working at three crime scenes: the car parks of both the Marriott Hotel and Volunteer pub, and at an underpass of the nearby M25.

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