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Witnesses sought after shots fired at police in London

Four men have been arrested after the incident in Leytonstone.

Police are appealing for witnesses after officers were caught in a gun battle in the streets of east London when suspects opened fire on their vehicle.

Officers were called to Lascelle Close in Leytonstone at 10.45pm on Thursday to reports of a “suspicious” BMW carrying a number of men and a firearm.

The BMW fled the scene and shots were fired at a Met armed response unit when they gave chase, prompting officers to return fire.

Four men, all in their early 20s, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

They remain in police custody.

No one was hurt in the exchange and one firearm was recovered from the suspects’ vehicle

Commander Kyle Walker, head of the Met’s firearms unit, said police had been notified by a member of the public about a “suspicious looking” BMW, and also warned them that a firearm was on board.

Speaking outside Scotland Yard in Westminster, Mr Walker said: “The black BMW was located in the area, officers went to speak to the occupants and the vehicle made off at speed.

“Given there were reports of there being a firearm on board police pursued the vehicle – the vehicle was located a short distance away and a number of shots were fired at police officers responding.

“The police officers themselves discharged their police-issue firearms at the time.

“A number of persons were arrested at the scene. We have four male persons in their early 20s who have been arrested and are currently in custody.”

Every ounce of information will help us with our investigation Simon Smith, Trident

He said that the vehicle had stopped after the burst of police fire, allowing officers to approach.

Mr Walker said none of the males have been charged but are currently being questioned by specialist Trident officers – the Met’s anti-gang crime unit.

The commander said incidents of this nature, where shots are fired at police, are very rare.

He refused to comment on any of the suspects’ possible links to gang activity in the area.

A spokesman for the Met said the Directorate of Professional Standards had been informed of the incident, as is routine when police-issue firearms are discharged.

A crime scene remains in place in the area.

Detective Inspector Simon Smith, from Trident, has urged any potential witnesses to come forward.

He said: “We have made four arrests but we are still appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to contact us as a matter of urgency.

“It doesn’t matter how insignificant you think the information you have is, every ounce of information will help us with our investigation.

“Any information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence.”

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