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Help find gunmen who shot my son,’ father appeals

PUBLISHED: 00:36 14 February 2009 | UPDATED: 14:03 05 October 2010

THE father of paralysed teenager Raphael Smith who was caught in an East London shooting has joined detectives appealing this week for witnesses to come forward. Raphael had been with friends at a community centre in Shellness Road in Hackney on December 17 when youths burst in and fired shots

THE father of paralysed teenager Raphael Smith who was caught in an East London shooting has joined detectives appealing this week for witnesses to come forward.

Raphael had been with friends at a community centre in Shellness Road in Hackney on December 17 when youths burst in and fired shots.

Paul Smith says he knows people have information about the thugs who shot Raphael—but can’t understand why they haven’t come forward.

Raphael’s condition deteriorated in hospital and suffered severe brain damage. He is paralysed from the neck down.

COMMUNITY AT RISK’

Mr Smith, speaking from his son’s hospital bedside this week, said: “The gunmen don’t deserve to have their freedom—they will always be a risk to our community. We know people have information that could help catch them.”

The father-of-four, who works for Hackney Council, spent Christmas and Ralph’s 18th birthday at his hospital bedside.

Det Ins Neil Bradburn, leading the hunt for the gunmen, said: “Shellness Road was busy at 9.25pm with a large function at the community centre.

“At least 10 youths chased the gun suspects through the Pembury Estate after the shooting, but fled and collided with a man walking his dog.

“For whatever reason, none of these people have come forward.”

Witnesses are being urged to call 020-8217 7377, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.

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Two youths aged 18 and 19 and two men aged 20 and 21 have been arrested in conenction with the shooting. All have been given police bail.

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