A young woman shot dead by masked gunmen was an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of a gangland shooting, witnesses have said.
Mohanna Abdhou, 20, was out with friends when two men cycled up to them and opened fire outside Dickens House in Kilburn, north-west London, just before 9pm on Friday night.
Abdhou, known as Montana, was pronounced dead at 9.30pm and a postmortem examination on Saturday gave the cause of death as a single gunshot wound.
Abdhou and her friends had been standing next to a busy playground when the shots were fired, one of which hit her in the stomach. Witnesses said a number of young men, believed to be the intended targets, fled the scene following the attack.
“I was inside and I heard four gunshots,” Reiss Graham, 25, who has lived on the estate for six years, told the Evening Standard.
Graham said the area was troubled by gang feuds, but the shooting was unprecedented in its violence. “It’s gang wars between the Mozart estate and South Kilburn. They found a knife during the search for the casings,” he said. “There were about 20 kids in the park, just having a really good time. It was 8.52pm – I’ll remember that time forever.”
In a statement, Abdhou’s family described her as a “beautiful and caring soul” and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
The statement said: “We are truly saddened, heartbroken and still in complete shock that we have lost a beautiful and caring soul. No words can truly express our feelings towards this situation.
“She was a loving daughter, sister and friend. She was loved by everyone and her warmth and kindness will be remembered fondly.
“The thought that anyone can go out there and murder an innocent person is truly heart-breaking and we wish that no other family ever goes through such distress. She will always be in our minds and in our hearts.”
DCI Andy Partridge, leading the investigation, said police found nothing in Abdhou’s background that could suggest she would have been a target.
“Montana’s family are devastated by her senseless killing, and I and my team are committed to finding those responsible and the reasons behind it,” Patridge said. “I am continuing to appeal for anyone who was in the area of Dickens House at the time of the shooting, and who is yet to speak with police, to come forward and let us know what your saw or heard.”
The two suspects have been described as being of medium build and dressed in dark clothing. Police said their faces were covered which “would have made them stand out on such a warm evening”.