Teenage law student shot on shopping trip 'was killed by mistake', say police as three arrested

Law student Aya Hachem, 19, was an innocent victim of a shooting in Blackburn on Sunday. (PA)

A law student who was shot dead near a supermarket was killed by mistake, police have said.

Aya Hachem, 19, who was killed while out shopping for her family in Blackburn, Lancashire, on Sunday, was not the intended target of the daylight attack.

Three men remain in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murdering the teenager.

Lancashire Police said the arrests followed a public appeal for information and that the men, aged 39, 33 and 36, were from Blackburn.

Forensic police officers at the scene of the fatal shooting of Aya Hachem, 19, in Blackburn (PA)

The teenager was hit by one of several shots fired from a passing car as she walked to a Lidl supermarket to buy food for her family.

“There is no evidence to suggest Aya was the intended target of this attack and every indication is that she was an innocent passer-by, making this all the more tragic,” said Detective Superintendent Andy Cribbin, of Lancashire’s force major investigation team (FMIT).

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“We are determined to find who did this to Aya, particularly for her family, who are understandably devastated at their loss. Our thoughts remain with them.

“We are also continuing to stress that this incident is not being treated as terrorism-related or a racially-motivated attack.”

Hachem, a second year student at the University of Salford, was pronounced dead in hospital from a single gunshot wound a short time after emergency services were called to the scene in King Street at about 3pm.

Police believe this Toyota Avensis was used in the shooting of 19-year-old Aya Hachem in Blackburn. (PA)

Her distraught parents said she was the "most loyal devoted daughter" who enjoyed spending time with her family. They added she dreamt of becoming a solicitor and had been learning to drive. She was a young trustee for the Children's Society.

Police said a number of people were travelling in the light green Toyota Avensis from which the shots were fired.

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

Police are appealing for anyone who saw the car or have mobile phone, CCTV or dashcam footage taken in the area between 10am and 4pm to come forward.

An armed police officer at the scene on King Street, Blackburn, following the fatal shooting of Aya Hachem on Sunday. (PA)

Detectives also want to hear from anyone with information about who had been using the car on the day or in the weeks before.

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Det Supt Cribbin said: "We are on with a number of lines of inquiry which includes looking at CCTV in the area and we have spoken to a number of key witnesses.

"Despite that, and the arrests, this is a live investigation and I am asking anyone who might know anything about what happened, or the circumstances leading up to Aya being senselessly killed to speak to us.

"Any piece of information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could prove vital to our investigation.”

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