Student shot in 'unprovoked' attack
Police have named an Indian student who was shot dead in an "unprovoked" attack while visiting a city with friends.
Anuj Bidve, 23, who was studying a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University, was part of a group of nine male and female Indian students who were visiting Manchester for a short break over the Christmas holidays.
As they walked from their hotel in Salford towards Manchester city centre in the early hours of Boxing Day, they were stopped by a man who began a short conversation with the victim before taking out a handgun and blasting him at close range.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it was an "awful" attack and pledged to "leave no stone unturned" in the hunt for the killer. A racial motive for the killing has not been ruled out.
Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, divisional commander for Salford, said: "This is a tragic incident and our first thoughts are for the family. There is going to be a huge amount of concern in the community and I can reassure the family and the community by telling them we have launched a major investigation and no stone will be left unturned until we find the people who are responsible for this."
Armed response units were called to Ordsall Lane, Salford, following the shooting, which happened just a short walk from the hotel where the students were staying.
Police said the students, who had not been drinking, were walking towards the city centre and became aware of two men on the other side of the street. The gunman, a white male in his 20s who was wearing a grey top, walked across the road and engaged the victim in a short conversation before producing the gun and shooting the student at close range to the side of the head.
The killer then ran back across the street before the pair fled on foot towards Asgard Drive and the Ordsall housing estate. The other man was of a heavier build and wearing a black jacket, police said.
Initial witness statements have been taken from the other eight students who are now "in a safe place" being cared for by police until they return to university, Mr Mulligan said. A spokeswoman for Lancaster University said counselling and support has been organised for Anuj's friends who were described as "deeply upset".
On his Facebook page, Anuj gives his home city as Pune, in Maharashtra, and lists his interests as sport and watching movies.