[Gist] Woman shot dead in Blackburn is named as Aya Hachem, 19

A teenager who was shot dead in Blackburn on Sunday while shopping for groceries has been described as a “truly remarkable young woman”, as police appeal for witnesses to her murder.

Aya Hachem, 19, a second year law student at Salford University, was gunned down from a car on Sunday afternoon, near a Lidl supermarket in the town’s centre.

Soon afterwards she died of gunshot wounds in hospital. The Children’s Society confirmed that Hachem was one of its trustees. Its chief executive, Mark Russell, said the charity was “deeply saddened” by her death. He said: “She was a truly remarkable young woman, and an inspiring voice for children and young people. Our thoughts are with her family at this awful time.”

In a statement on Facebook, the Asylum and Refugee Community in Blackburn said Hachem was the eldest daughter of refugees from Lebanon. It said: “Aya, one of our own, lost her life in a horrific senseless attack, randomly caught up in a shooting outside Lidl.”

It said she had an ambition to practise international law. It added: “Aya and her family are much loved in our ARC community. Our hearts and prayers are with them at this painful time especially during this holy month of Ramadan when Aya and her family were fasting.”

Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, expressed her condolences to the family and urged any witnesses to her killing to contact Lancashire police or Crimestoppers.

The leader of Blackburn with Darwen council, Mohammed Khan, said the murder had “shocked and saddened the whole community”.

It was reported that a car, thought to be a light-coloured or metallic green Toyota Avensis, was seen leaving the scene. A car matching the description was later recovered and police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the car to contact them.

DCI Jonathan Holmes of Lancashire police said: “This is a truly shocking and senseless killing, which has robbed a young woman of her life. We are determined to find those responsible – and we are asking for the public’s help identifying the offender or offenders.”

He said additional patrols, including armed officers, had been deployed in the area.

A Lancashire police spokeswoman said: “We are not treating this as racially motivated.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101, quoting log number 817 of 17 May. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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