A teenager has been arrested after a 15-year-old boy was shot on his way to school in front of terrified pupils near Ipswich today, as witnesses described the suspect hiding in a back garden behind an animal enclosure.
Armed police swarmed the area following reports of a gunshot in Kesgrave, this morning. The Year 11 pupil at sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital at around 8.40am.
The victim was found at Friends Walk, which is less than half a mile from Kesgrave High School, where the pupil attends.
Suffolk Police confirmed that shortly before 1.00pm a teenage boy, whose age has not been confirmed, has been arrested and is currently being questioned.
The owner of an animal shelter in Kesgrave said a man believed to be the suspect in the shooting had been hiding in his back garden, but escaped before armed police officers arrived.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said the man appeared to be in his mid-20s and ‘looked like he hadn’t had a haircut for a while’.
Police at the scene of the incident in Grange Farm, Kesgrave, which is to the east of Ipswich
‘I got woken up because my dogs were going absolutely ballistic at the back of the house.
‘When I went to the back window to have a look there was a gentleman who looked like he was carrying something, at first I thought it was a bat or pole or something, and he went down behind my exotic animal enclosures.
He added that the man had a hooded top over his arm concealing whatever he was carrying.
‘I’ve got no neighbours directly and I’ve got a woodland at the side… I didn’t see where he went.’
A concerned mother posted on Facebook this morning something ‘major’ has happened and that ‘lots of people were screaming’ with one lady saying ‘run, someone has been shot.’
In a Twitter post the school confirmed there had been a ‘serious incident’ involving one of their pupils. For many pupils today was the first day back at school at Kesgrave High School.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones, from Suffolk Police, said: ‘Following this serious incident our priority is to keep everyone safe.
‘We have now made an arrest as part of the investigation and are working with our partners in Suffolk and our schools to ensure that everyone feels safe when they are collecting their children from school this afternoon.
‘There will be more police officers on patrol and to provide reassurance in the area and I would ask for anyone with information about this incident to come forward.’
Friends Walk and Through Jollys are completely closed off by police at present and there is a partial closure on Ropes Drive. Members of the public are asked to avoid these areas.
Local pub landlady and councillor Debbie McCallum said: ‘This is dreadful news – someone’s child has been shot on the way to school. It’s unimaginable and everyone will be affected in some way.
‘The initial reactions are complete shock, horror and surprise that something like this could happen here.’
Debbie, who runs the Bell pub in Kesgrave for 20 years. said: ‘There are parts of the town that have problems but not Kesgrave. This is a caring community where people look after each other.
The incident reportedly involves a Year 11 pupil who was on their way to school at the time
‘I feel for the people involved – there would have been children walking to school who saw this terrible thing happen. All our sympathies are with the family of the boy who was shot.’
According to the Ipswich Star, the headteacher of Kesgrave High School, Julia Upton, sent an email confirming the incident involved one of its Year 11 pupils ‘on their way to school’.
The message said: ‘We have been made aware by the police that there has been a serious incident involving one of our Year 11 students on their way to school.
‘Students in school are safe and we are managing the situation in constant close communication with the police.
‘Students are to remain in school, and will be kept safe in liaison with police.
‘Police will be present in the area and around the school throughout the school day.
‘At the present time we are expecting students to be dismissed at the end of the school, day at 3.20pm as normal.’
An Essex and Herts Air Ambulance landed on a grass area and took off just before 10am.
A land ambulance is also at the scene, along with a number of police cars.