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Drive-by shooting at London church leaves 6 wounded, child critical

UK police tape crime

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J-P Mauro - published on 01/16/23

The motives for the crime are still unknown, but it is believed the shooter is tied to the Colombian Cali cartel.

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A senseless act of violence was visited upon a London congregation, when a drive-by shooter opened fire on a crowd of mourners leaving a memorial service. Six people were injured in the shooting, including a 7-year-old girl who is in stable, but critical condition. Authorities have apprehended a suspect, who is reported to have connections with the Colombian Cali cartel. 

According to Catholic News Agency, the service was a joint funeral for 20-year-old Sara Sanchez and her 50-year-old mother, Fresia Calderon, who died within a month of each other. After the service, the hundreds gathered in St. Aloysius Catholic Church filed out to release doves in an act of post-ceremony remembrance, when the attack ensued. 

Four women and two girls were injured in the attack. Three of the women – aged 54, 42, and 21 – were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, but the fourth, 48, has injuries that could potentially change her life.The Independent reports that a 12-year-old girl also sustained leg injuries, and a 7-year-old girl is in critical condition at a central London hospital. While her condition is stable as of the writing of this article, doctors are still cautious. 

BBC spoke with Father Jeremy Trood, who conducted the memorial service. He said that he was in the church when he heard the gunshots and saw parishioners come running back into the building: 

“They were very scared, people sheltered in the church until the police said they can leave but some of them were so scared they had to wait a while to get their confidence back up to go outside.”

Video footage from Sky News shows a chaotic scene within the church moments after the attack. The people were required to shelter within the church until the police apprehended the active shooter. Fr. Trood said, however, that some of the people were still too scared to leave after the police gave the all-clear

While the exact motives of this crime are still unknown, The Christian Post reports that Fresia Calderon’s former husband, Carlos Arturo Sanchez-Coronado, was a “money deliverer” tied to the Cali cartel, which is perhaps the largest distributor of illegal narcotics in the UK. It is possible that the shooter was targeting Carlos in the attack, or was trying to send a message. 

Read more at BBC.

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