TWO YOUNG men were convicted of murder yesterday for their parts in a drive-by shooting when they were 19 and 15.
The victim in the incident was Abdul Zasan who was also just 19.
He was gunned down as he walked along Harnall Lane into Adelaide Street in Hillfields in broad daylight around 2.30pm on March 13, not far from a nursery.
A post mortem examination revealed he suffered two gunshot wounds to his back which caused catastrophic internal injuries. He died in the street.
The shooter and his child getaway driver made off in a VW Golf Type R – stolen in Rugby the previous day – and arranged for others to set it on fire in an attempt to destroy forensic evidence.
But police quickly identified the suspects and both were arrested in the early hours of the next morning after police raided their Coventry addresses.
Both were electronically tagged at the time due to their suspected involvement in other offences – and information from the tags put them in the street at the time of the murder.
Shotgun cartridges found in the burned out car were also matched by ballistics experts to spent cartridges recovered from the murder scene.
Despite strong evidence against them the teenagers denied murder – but following a four week trial at Birmingham Crown Court they were found guilty.
The jury found the gunman from Longford, unanimously guilty and reached a majority verdict on the boy who is from the Stoke area of Coventry.
The man, now 20, and boy, now 16, will be sentenced on December 22 and are expected to receive life sentences.
For legal reasons the killers cannot be named at this stage.
The attackers were linked to the C2 gang in Coventry while the victim – who had been arrested just days before the murder for possessing an imitation gun – was connected to a rival group known as RB7.
CCTV shows moment killers open fire
Det Ch Insp Scott Griffiths from West Midlands Police’s Homicide Unit led the investigation and said there had been tensions between the two groups prior to the murder including guns being fired.
“What happened was outrageous – a shotgun fired several times in a public street in the middle of the afternoon.
“Other people not connected to either gang could easily have been injured.
“It’s a really tragic case and a stark reminder of the consequences of getting drawn into gangs.
“One young life has been lost and the lives of two others, including a young child, have been utterly ruined.”
He said the force, along with charities and support groups, could help people wanting to turn their backs on gang crime make better choices.
“But for those who insist of affiliating themselves to violent gangs there is a very strong possibility they are going to be seriously injured, killed or spend much of their life locked up in jail.”