LONDON: Police are questioning three men in connection with the murder of 19-year-old Lebanese student Aya Hachem in a town in north England.
The men, all from Blackburn and aged 39, 33 and 36, are suspected of the drive-by shooting that took place outside a supermarket in broad daylight on Sunday.
A post mortem examination revealed that Aya died as a result of a gunshot wound to her chest.
Police believe the law student was not the intended target of the attack, and have appealed to the public for their help with the investigation.
A statement by Lancashire Police on Tuesday said: “Detectives are aware of a number of videos circulating across social media and are asking people to report them to the police.
“We would also ask people not to share these videos out of respect for Aya and her family.”
Detective Chief Constable Terry Woods appealed directly to those involved in crime in the area, saying his officers would “not be going away until we've got justice for Aya and her family,” and that “it’s now time for the criminal fraternity to come forward.”
Police have said they are not treating the shooting as terrorism-related or a racially-motivated.
Tributes for the slain student, who arrived in the UK with her family as a refugee, have poured in from family, friends and the community.
Aya’s parents said they are “devastated” by her death, and that she was the “most loyal devoted daughter” who “dreamed of becoming a solicitor.”
They also pleaded with members of the public to come forward with any information that would help bring the perpetrators to justice.
Woods described Aya as the “perfect 19-year-old” and a “wonderful young lady.”
Mark Russell, the CEO of the Children’s Society where Aya was a trustee, called her “a remarkable young woman, and an inspiring voice for children and young people.”
“It’s a complete tragedy that her life has been cut short,” he said.
The Blackburn branch of the Asylum and Refugee Community also paid tribute to Aya.
“Aya, one of our own, lost her life in a horrific senseless attack, randomly caught up in a shooting,” the charity said. “Our hearts and prayers are with them at this painful time.”
Aya’s family are waiting for the investigation to finish so they could take her body back to Lebanon to be buried in her home village of Qlaileh, the BBC reported.
Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods has issued an appeal for anyone with information to search their conscience and come forward after a 19-year-old woman was killed in broad daylight in Blackburn yesterday (Sunday, May 17). @DCCWoods
— Lancashire Police (@LancsPolice) May 18, 2020