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Woman killed in drive-by attack died from single gunshot wound to the chest

Police believe 19-year-old Aya Hachem was not the intended target.

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Police officers at the scene on King Street, Blackburn, following the death of a woman from a suspected gunshot wound (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police officers at the scene on King Street, Blackburn, following the death of a woman from a suspected gunshot wound (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police officers at the scene on King Street, Blackburn, following the death of a woman from a suspected gunshot wound (Peter Byrne/PA)

A 19-year-old law student mistakenly killed in a drive-by shooting died from a single wound to the chest.

Innocent passer-by Aya Hachem was hit by one of several shots fired from a vehicle as she walked to a supermarket near her home in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday.

Three men aged 39, 33 and 36 continue to be questioned on suspicion of her murder after their arrests on Monday.

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Aya Hachem was shot while en route to buy food for her family (Lancs Police/PA)

Aya Hachem was shot while en route to buy food for her family (Lancs Police/PA)

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Aya Hachem was shot while en route to buy food for her family (Lancs Police/PA)

Police believe Miss Hachem was not the intended target of the broad daylight attack which took place on a busy town centre main road.

The Lebanese-born teenager, a second year student at the University of Salford, died in hospital a short time after emergency services were called to the scene in King Street at around 3pm.

Her former head teacher at Blackburn Central High School, Diane Atkinson, told the BBC: “She fled a war-torn zone as a refugee and came to the UK looking for a better life.

“She arrived with very little English and was soon inducted with BCHS, as we call ourselves, the family, and Blackburn.

“And she was a very, very intelligent young lady who very, very quickly picked up the command of English and worked incredibly hard to become the very, very best person she could be.

“It’s very tragic and this weekend, as a community, we have been very saddened and devastated at her loss and such a waste of a wonderful, wonderful young lady who had so much to offer and had such great aspirations to help other people.”

On Tuesday, Lancashire Police said a post-mortem showed she died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Detectives said several videos of Sunday’s incident are circulating on social media and urged people to formally submit them rather than continuing to share the footage online.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Andy Cribben, of Lancashire Police, said: “We know that a lot of people have expressed their support for the police investigation and I would like to thank them for that.

“However, we know of a number of videos of the incident are on social media and it is important that people formally report these to us as they are potential evidence.

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Police at the scene (Peter Byrne/PA)

Police at the scene (Peter Byrne/PA)

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Police at the scene (Peter Byrne/PA)

“We would also ask people, even if they are well intentioned, not to share these videos out of respect for Aya and her family.

“Similarly, I would urge people not to speculate online about the cause of the incident and to instead share what they know with us as their information could prove vital.”

A large team of detectives continue to work on the inquiry with additional police patrols in the area.

A number of people were travelling in the light green/silver Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired close to the Lidl store.

The vehicle, with the registration number SV53 UBP, was abandoned a short time later in nearby Wellington Road and was seized for forensic examination.

Anybody with information should contact 101, quoting log number 0412 of May 18th, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

PA