Hunt for evidence: Police examine the area outside the One Stop Variety store on Parsons Road on Monday following a drive-by shooting at about 10:30am. A 27-year-old man was sitting on a wall near the store when he was fired at by a lone gunman on a scooter. The victim’s upper leg was injured. *Photo by James Whittaker
Hunt for evidence: Police examine the area outside the One Stop Variety store on Parsons Road on Monday following a drive-by shooting at about 10:30am. A 27-year-old man was sitting on a wall near the store when he was fired at by a lone gunman on a scooter. The victim’s upper leg was injured. *Photo by James Whittaker
A single smoking gun could help police solve a series of gang shootings.

Detectives still believe a relatively small number of weapons are being shared between gang members.

Bullet casings collected at the scenes of various shootings suggest the same weapons are being used again and again.

Recovering these guns, said Assistant Commissioner David Mirfield, is the number one priority.

He said any innocent party who knows where firearms or bullets are kept could hand them in to police without fear of prosecution.

But he stopped short of offering a gun amnesty, saying the police would make every effort to use the weapons to help build evidence in murder and attempted murder cases.

Mr. Mirfield said: “I’m not talking about a weapons amnesty. I’m talking about guns found by innocent people.

Fear

“I don’t believe the people doing the shootings are the only ones who know where the guns are.

“The example I give is of a mother cleaning her son’s room who comes across a gun. She can hand it in or let us know where it is without being afraid of prosecution.

“Innocent people can hand these weapons in and have nothing to fear.

“What they should fear is if we find them in possession of a gun and they haven’t told us about it — they will be dealt with as if they are in criminal possession of a firearm.”

From a public safety standpoint, he said, it is imperative to get guns off the streets.

In a recent case, a stash of bullets was found by a group of children playing in the street and handed in to police.

Mr. Mirfield would not give more details of that incident but said it was an example of how the public could help get dangerous weapons off the streets.

He added that the pattern of recent crimes — including a daylight ride-by shooting on Parsons Road on Monday — was more random than in previous cases.

He acknowledged the apparent opportunistic nature of some recent shootings — from scooters in daylight — suggested that criminals are, at times, moving around freely carrying firearms.

Mr. Mirfield said: “That is why we have increased the number of roadblocks. It’s a mobile operation.

“In the last 10 days we have done dozens of roadblocks in different areas and we don’t stay in any one place for any length of time.”

He admitted no weapons had yet been intercepted as a result of the operation.

He added: “These are clearly items that people are extremely careful to hide. If somebody knows where a weapon is they need to contact us.”

Mr. Mirfield said people could take the weapon to a police station but officers would prefer they called Crime Stoppers or a local station to allow officers to recover the gun safely.

He added the weapons could provide valuable evidence in a number of cases. Each shell casing has a ‘fingerprint’ that can help detectives link it to a specific weapon.

Mr. Mirfield said: “Our intelligence is still that the same few guns are being used by a number of individuals. We need to find these key weapons.”

He insisted the priority was safety, adding: “The main thing we want to see is the weapon taken off the streets.”