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Teenager critical after being shot while riding motorbike

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident

A 15-year-old boy who was shot while riding pillion on a motorbike remains critically ill in hospital, police have said.

A 16-year-old and a 39-year-old were in custody on suspicion of grievous bodily harm following the incident in Hewitt Avenue, Sunderland, at around 8.40pm on Wednesday.

The teenager suffered a serious head wound and was being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

Northumbria Police said the other person on the motorbike was uninjured.

Officers have yet to find the weapon used and said it was still not clear whether a gun or an air weapon was used.

They said it was an isolated incident and not linked to previous shootings in the city.

A thorough, fingertip search of the cordoned-off street of semi-detatched homes was being carried out by specially-trained officers.

A blood-stained tea towel was visible on the pavement within the cordoned off area.

Extra officers were in the area to reassure residents.

Chief Superintendent Ged Noble said: "The 15-year-old boy remains in hospital in a critical condition and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

"We understand they and the local community will be concerned about this incident and will have questions around the circumstances, and I would like to reassure them we have a team of detectives working to establish what happened.

"At this stage it is not clear whether or not the weapon used was a gun or an air weapon however I would like to stress that we do not believe that this incident is in anyway linked to other incidents that we have had in the city where a firearm has been discharged.

"Neighbourhood officers are in the area, speaking to local residents and offering reassurance and I would urge anyone who is concerned to speak to an officer on patrol."

One mother in Hewitt Avenue said a group of four or five children played on motorbikes locally but were well-behaved.

Brogan Connify, 21, said: "They are quite considerate for being such young kids. There has been times I have asked them to keep the noise down and they have apologised and moved.

"They are lovely around here."

Ms Connify, who has a one-year-old called Wyatt, added: "There's nothing to cause this, no bullying.

"With it being such a small community, they have all grown up together, it doesn't matter the age. This is a massive shock."

She described hearing a "big clatter" but said she did not go outside to look as she was caring for her son who was unwell, she said.

Carer John Thompson, 63, who lives in Hewitt Avenue, said he believed the man and boy who had been arrested lived locally.

He said youngsters regularly rode along the street on off-road scrambler type bikes to get to a nearby field.

"It's an isolated thing, it's quite pleasant here. It's a shock," he said.