Homes raided after street murder
Published 30/12/2011 | 17:12
Police have carried out a number of raids on the homes of suspected gang members in response to "rising tensions" in the wake of the murder of a teenager on the UK's busiest shopping street.
Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, was killed on Boxing Day after a fight broke out at a Foot Locker sports shoe store at London's Oxford Street, described by police as "the busiest place in the United Kingdom on the busiest shopping day".
Eleven people arrested over the murder have been released on bail while officers have conducted a number of raids across the capital and made 13 further arrests. These were for a range of offences including grievous bodily harm, robbery, affray, intent to supply drugs, burglary, forgery and handling stolen goods.
Met Police Commander Mak Chishty said: "We were aware of rising tensions in the wake of the murder and, having monitored the situation closely, including various comments that have been made on social networking sites, we felt it vital we take robust and prompt action in order to pre-empt any potential future violence."
The motive for the fight inside the shop remains unclear but Mr Chishty said there were a number of gangs present at the time. He said police were aware of people wanting to "seek retaliation or revenge" for what had happened. "We don't want to see any other young person or anyone else lose their lives," he said.
He added: "This is just one of a series of measures we are carrying out in order to enhance the safety of the public and visitors to London, especially with New Year's Eve pending.
"We will continue to aggressively pursue any lawful opportunities against those who choose to become involved in violent crime and thus protect potential future victims, in line with the Commissioner's pledge on total policing."
Mr Diarrassouba, from Mitcham, south west London, died from a single stab wound which pierced his heart.
In a statement released through police, his family said: "Our loving son and brother has been snatched away from us. A simple shopping trip has turned into a complete nightmare for our whole family.
"We are urging anyone who was in Oxford Street at the time of the incident to come forward with any evidence, no matter how little relevance they think it could have, to help the police with their ongoing investigation."