London Metropolitan Police are engaged in an active manhunt in the U.K. for a 35-year-old man suspected of throwing a corrosive chemical substance on a mother and her two daughters, in an attack that sent a total of 11 people to the hospital.
The suspect’s name is Abdul Shokoor Ezedi and police are warning that he “should NOT be approached.”
It’s believed that he “sustained significant injuries to the right side of his face,” the Met added.
The attack occurred in Clapham, in the London borough of Lambeth, on Wednesday night. A 31-year-old mother was with her eight- and three-year-old daughters when an individual threw an “alkaline” substance on them, the Met states in a press release.
The exact chemical used in the attack is unknown, but alkaline substances are basic, so this wouldn’t be considered an acid attack. Strong alkalis can cause serious burns.
Police heard from witnesses that they saw a man throw a child to the ground after the corrosive substance had been thrown. The man then “attempted to make off in a car but collided with a stationary vehicle,” and continued on foot.
The mother and her three-year-old daughter remain in the hospital with potentially life-altering injuries.
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“While none of their conditions are life-threatening, the injuries to the woman and younger girl could be life-changing,” Gabriel Cameron, a police superintendent, said. “It may be some time before hospital staff are able to say how serious that might be.”
Three Good Samaritans, who “bravely came to the aid of the family,” were hospitalized with minor burns. A fourth person at the scene declined treatment. Five police officers were also injured.
“All these members of the public, and my officers, deserve enormous recognition and praise for coming to the aid of this woman and children in what must have been a terrifying scenario,” Cameron added.
On Thursday morning, the Met released an update to the public naming Ezedi as “wanted” in connection with the attack. Police believe he travelled from Newcastle, in the north of England, to London earlier that day.
“A manhunt to trace Ezedi is under way. We are working with partner agencies and forces including the British Transport Police to locate and arrest him,” police wrote.
It’s believed that Ezedi and the 31-year-old mother knew each other, however the motive behind the attack is still unknown.
Ezedi was last seen in the Caledonian Road area of north London.
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A woman named Shannon told the BBC she witnessed the attack and helped save the three-year-old girl.
“I was in my room, I heard a lot of shouting, I heard a bang and I heard someone shouting ‘help.’ So we ran outside [and as] I’ve run outside I’ve seen this guy throwing a child on the floor — he picked her up and threw her again,” Shannon said. “At that point I ran in and I grabbed her and took her into my [housing] block.”
Shannon added that she heard the mother of the girl shouting, “I can’t see, I can’t see.” Staff from a nearby hotel then took the woman inside to help her.
After Shannon helped the victims, she said the skin on her lips began “tingling” then burning. She was hospitalized but told the BBC she was feeling better by Thursday morning.
The South Belvedere hotel in Clapham confirmed that the woman and her two daughters were guests at the hotel when the attack occurred, and that its staff provided aid.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those affected,” a spokesperson said, according to the Guardian.
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