North Woolwich shootings: Shopkeeper describes ‘frightful’ scene as tributes pour in for Karim Samms
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have flooded in for 17-year-old Karim Samms, who was shot dead in North Woolwich on Friday night.
The teenager was found injured on Roebourne Way at around 10.45pm and died at the scene.
Today, bouquets of flowers, a message board, a Palm Sunday cross, and a pair of football boots were laid out at the spot in his memory.
Candles spelt out his name and mourners came to pay their respects to the teenager, who was a member of international charity Fight For Peace, which uses boxing and martial arts to educate and help young people.
Another young man was shot two times in the back just a short distance away in Claremont Close.
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Local shopkeeper Jay Patel said he rushed out when he heard gunshots on Friday night:
“I hear the shot and went outside and saw him stumbling and put two and two together.”
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Although Jay didn’t know the second victim personally, the 29-year-old said he knew him by sight.
“It was quite frightful. He was shot in the back and I was there with the police waiting for help.”
Jay, 29, said Karim was a regular customer at the Nisa store on Pier Parade: “I saw most of the kids around here grow up. I saw him in a pushchair. It was really upsetting news, to be honest.”
A former mentor from Fight For Peace, who did not wish to be named, said he knew Karim from the charity: “He was everyone’s little brother, a funny young man with lots of banter.”
“His life was going in the right direction – he had a job in a pub, he had started doing well.”
He added: “He was loved by everyone.”
Fight For Peace issued a statement about Karim, saying he had been involved with the charity, which is just a short distance away from where he died, for seven years.
It said: “Above all, he was a regular presence in and around the Academy, entertaining, joking and making people laugh with his confidence and unique brand of humour,” and continued: “ To his many friends at the London Academy, Karim will be remembered as a bubbly character, a mentor and a brother. He was someone who was constantly there for his friends, family and fellow Fight for Peace young people and would always put others before himself.”
Fight For Peace said Karim acted as a mentor younger members: “His approach was to protect and guide others, to look out for his friends and seek to resolve problems.”
A local mother whose children went to school with Karim at Drew Primary School described Karim as “a polite boy who always had a smile on his face. He was a good kid.”
“It’s a small community so you get to know people. I know his mother, he was her only son.”
She said of his killers: “We call them cowards because they don’t want to use their hands. His life hadn’t even started.”
Anyone who witnessed either shooting or has any information should call the incident room on 020 345 3715, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via Twitter @MetCC.