This morning a police spokesman said ‘We probably need to prepare ourselves for bad news’ following the shooting of a seven-year-old girl in Northiam at 4pm yesterday.
Terrified neighbours heard the girl’s mother – who is separated from the father – scream ‘He’s got a gun’ before two shots rang out.
The girl, named locally as Mary Ann, was said to have just got home from school with her mother, named as Lyndsey, when a silver Toyota Rav 4 pulled up and two shots were fired.
A Northiam resident has spoken of how he locked his children in the house after hearing a gun shot.
Anthony Burr said: “I heard a gun shot at around 4pm. We locked the kids inside thinking there was a gunman at large.
“It’s a lovely little village - this sort of thing doesn’t happen here. It is a real shock.”
Izzy Simmons said: “There were 12 police cars at the scene, two undercover cars and two ambulances.”
Neighbours have spoken of how they heard a woman screaming “He’s got a gun!”
Susie Clements said: My son Ricky was at home at around 3.30pm when he heard a woman screaming: “He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun. Then he heard two gun shots.”
Mrs Clements said she believed the girl lived with her mother and brother. She added: “This is absolutely tragic.”
Neighbours described the injured girl as “a really sweet little girl.”
It is believed the injured girl was carried into a neighbours house by a man and his mother.
The girl’s mother is thought to be a teaching assistant who worked as a librarian in Brighton.
Neighbour Margaret Bensley described the girl as “pretty and well spoken” She said: “She was just like any other girl and extremely fond of cats.”
Other neighbours described seeing armed police at the scene wearing helmets and bullet proof vests.
One villager commented: “The whole village has gone grey. Everybody is talking and everyone is praying for the little girl.