Grandmother appeals after toddler shot in head survives as bullet 'missed artery by 1mm'

15 June 2020, 15:22 | Updated: 15 June 2020, 15:28

Lillian Serunkuma, the boy's grandmother, has appealed for information
Lillian Serunkuma, the boy's grandmother, has appealed for information. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A two-year-old boy who was shot in the head has survived after a bullet missed a crucial artery by just 1mm, his family have revealed.

His grandmother Lillian Serunkuma, who lost her 15-year-old son after he was stabbed to death outside his school gates in 2017, has appealed for information to help catch the gunman.

The toddler and his mother were two of four people who were shot in Energen Close, Harlesden, north-west London on the evening of 3 June.

During the attack, the suspect fired a handgun at a man in his late teens before turning the weapon on to a car containing the boy, his mother, another teenager and two other children, detectives have said.

The gunman then fled the scene on a motorbike.

After being rushed to hospital in a critical condition, doctors told the two-year-old's family the bullet missed a crucial artery by just 1mm and that if it had been damaged the injury would likely have been fatal.

The toddler was shot in Energen Close, Harlesden, on 3 June
The toddler was shot in Energen Close, Harlesden, on 3 June. Picture: PA

Ms Serunkuma, who does not want to identify the toddler, said: "If you know the person responsible for this incident, you need to come forward and speak to the police.

"My grandson is two, he has never hurt anyone. The person who did this doesn't deserve your protection or friendship.

"The gunman could clearly see that a woman and child were present in the car, and fired towards them without any regard for their safety, seriously hurting them both.

"My daughter has never hurt anyone and didn't deserve to be shot multiple times protecting her child from harm."

The youngster's mother and the two men, both in their late teens, were also taken to hospital with gunshot wounds that were neither life-threatening nor life-changing.

Scotland Yard's Detective Chief Inspector Pete Wallis said: "I am pleased to say the little boy injured is now, thankfully, starting to show signs that his condition is beginning to improve.

"This is a very welcome development for everyone on the investigation team and of course his family.

"However, it must not be forgotten that this little boy was shot in an act of indiscriminate violence."

Detectives say the bullet missed a crucial artery in the boy's head by just 1mm
Detectives say the bullet missed a crucial artery in the boy's head by just 1mm. Picture: PA

A 20 year-old-man arrested on suspicion of four counts of attempted murder has been released under investigation, while a 19-year-old man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder has been bailed.

Three other men, aged 29, 23 and 36, arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have all been released under investigation.

DCI Wallis added: "This little boy has spent more than a week fighting for his life and his family have been put through a great deal of trauma, so please, don't think anything you may have seen that night is unimportant.

"Your information could be a vital part of our investigation."

Ms Serunkuma's son, Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, was knifed three times in an attack outside Capital City Academy in Willesden, west London, on 23 January 2017.

She branded his then 15-year-old killer's actions as "pure evil" in a statement read at the Old Bailey as he was locked up for at least 14 years after being found guilty of murder.

She wrote: "You never gave Quamari a second chance to defend himself.

"You took his life in a cold and malicious way."

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