Police hunting gunman who shot dead 17-year-old rapper release CCTV
Police hunting gunman who shot dead 17-year-old Drill rapper release CCTV of ‘suspects in stolen BMW’ and offer £20,000 reward for infomation three years after south London gang murder
- Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in London
- Two people were arrested in 2018 but later released and the killer is still at large
- Aspiring architect Rhyhiem was a rapper called GB in London’s ‘drill’ music scene
- Detectives believe BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer ‘WT17 CFK’ is crucial to their case
The murder of a teenage boy shot dead could be solved with details about a stolen BMW car, police said today as they offered a £20,000 reward for information.
Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was standing with a group of friends when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Kennington, South London, on May 5, 2018.
Two people , then aged 17 and 20, were arrested on suspicion of murder in the following month but later released under investigation – and the killer is still at large.
Rhyhiem was a rapper called GB in London’s ‘drill’ music scene, a genre of music which celebrates gang life and has been promoted by former BBC DJ Tim Westwood.
The teenager was said to have been on a police database of rappers which Scotland Yard believed was promoting violence and goading rivals in online videos.
Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, was playing football with friends when he was gunned down in a drive-by daylight shooting in Kennington, South London, on May 5, 2018
Detectives believe that a grey BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer with the registration WT17 CFK seen around the time of the shooting is crucial to their case. It is pictured on CCTV from a bus
He was believed to have been a member of the masked Moscow17 crew from Kennington who were involved in a violent feud with rivals Zone2 from Peckham.
Scotland Yard said Rhyhiem is thought to have been was standing with friends on the corner of John Ruskin Street and Camberwell New Road when he was shot.
Officers said the friends who were there will have seen what happened and will have vital information, but so far they have been reluctant to come forward.
Detectives believe that a grey BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer with the registration WT17 CFK seen on CCTV around the time of the shooting is crucial to their case.
Police said this would identify those responsible because they are ‘confident it is this vehicle that the suspects used to make their way to and from the area’.
The car’s numberplates had been changed, with the true registration being BP17 YVV before the car was stolen during a burglary in Essex on December 23, 2017.
Rhyhiem’s mother Pretana Morgan arrived minutes after the stabbing as paramedics tried to save her son. She believes the teenager was killed by a gang called Zone 2 from Peckham
Pretana Morgan returned to the scene later to scrub her son’s blood from the pavement
Rhyhiem (right) was a member of the masked Moscow17 crew from Kennington promoted by former BBC DJ Tim Westwood (left)
Officers therefore want to hear from anyone who saw the vehicle in London either in its true identity or its fake numberplates at any time after that date.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘Any information about where it was being kept, who was driving it, or who was being carried in it could prove vital.’
How ‘Drill’ music is feared to have been driving gang wars
‘Drill’ music, a hip-hop subgenre, is feared to have been driving feuding gang wars in London in recent years.
Hundreds of videos on YouTube feature UK rappers threatening and provoking people from rival areas.
To ‘drill’ means to fight or scrap and the violent lyrics focus on gang life, drugs, guns and killing.
In one video viewed nearly three million times, rapper Digga D boasts about having to bleach his knife after using it to attack someone.
In another, entitled ‘Mummy’s Kitchen’, rappers Loski and Mayski, who are thought to be Londoners, boast about taking a blade from the family home.
In the videos, which are filmed across the city, performers take care to ensure their faces are covered.
The link with fatal attacks committed against young Londoners is made clear under the videos on YouTube, where commentators speculate about which groups were responsible.
They are offering a £20,000 reward for any information – whether about the car or another aspect of the case – that leads to the successful arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Rhyhiem, who was an aspiring architect.
Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘Rhyhiem’s murder shocked and angered people across London. We are determined to identify and bring to justice those responsible, no matter how long it takes.
‘We are confident that this grey BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer was used by the gunman. We know it was stolen from Essex and that it was being used on false plates up to and beyond the date Rhyhiem was murdered. I am appealing to the public to assist us in identifying who was using this vehicle and where it was being kept.
‘Did you see it parked in your street? Did you notice it left in a car park? Did you see someone putting it in a garage? Any information, no matter how small, could make the difference.’
She added: ‘I also want to appeal to Rhyhiem’s friends. I’m sure that some of you will know who pulled the trigger. I also know that some of you may not have the most positive view of the police and may feel that coming forward with information is a betrayal or a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.
‘Please give us the information to convict the people who killed your friend. We understand that doing so will take tremendous bravery and we are here to support you in any way we can. We are waiting for your call.’
Witnesses said at the time of the murder, which took place at 6pm on a Saturday, that several shots were fired, including one that narrowly missed a woman and went through a window.
Rhyhiem’s mother Pretana Morgan arrived minutes later as paramedics tried to save him. He was pronounced dead on the street just before 7pm.
Ms Morgan has previously said she believes her son was killed by a gang called Zone 2 from Peckham.
Pretana Morgan (green coat) marches to Peckham with friends following the stabbing in 2018
A police cordon in Kennington, South London, where 17-year-old Rhyhiem was shot dead
She sent Rhyhiem to her native Jamaica in June 2017 for eight months to protect him after he survived a stabbing a month earlier.
Rhyhiem’s mother sent him to Jamaica in June 2017 for eight months to protect him after he survived a stabbing a month earlier
Speaking after his murder, she said: ‘I want these children to stop this. Enough parents are in this predicament and lose their child. All of the children out there, for my son’s sake, should get out of this foolishness.
‘You better wake up. You only have one life – you better make use of it. It’s been going on for three years now around here. We’ve got these Peckham boys – they’re always coming here and attacking our children.’
Ms Morgan, who was separated from Rhyhiem’s father, was in a park near her Southwark home when a friend told her there had been a shooting nearby. When she arrived, she recognised her son’s hairstyle.
She said he had ‘so much potential’ and was a mentor with young children, adding: ‘I couldn’t ask for a better son – he was just trying to focus and trying to be an architect – he was not a bad child.’
Lacey Main, his godmother, blamed gangs from elsewhere in London at the time. She said: ‘If you go on social media you will see them boasting. This is known to the police.’
Information can be given to detectives directly by calling the incident room on 0208 721 4005. It can also be provided anonymously, to the independent charity Crimestoppers, by calling 0800 555 111 or by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
This map from 2018 shows the patchwork of gangs who control different streets in London
2. 9th Street
3. 22GZ (Wood Green)
4. OFB (Broadwater Farm)
5. Sin Squad/ NPK
7. #AP / GMG
11. 7th gang
12. 12th Manor Park
16. 6th gang
17. Custom House Gang
18. 13th gang
19. 15th gang
21. London Fields
22. Holly Street
23. Lisson Green Mandem/ Edgeware Road Boys
25. Harrow Road Boys
27. ICB (Ice City Boys)
28. SUSPECT GANG (USG) 29. 12World/12Anti
30. 3rd Set
35. 17/PriceyWorld/Wano Rd
38. AY gang
40. Ghetto Boys
41. 10th (G-Town)
42. OCB/YCB (Cherry Boys)
43. Woolwich Boys
44. GS (Greenside)
45. AWB (Abbey Wood Boys)
47. Splash Gang
48. BSIDE 785
49. 23 #GMASH
50. AR (ARMED RESPONSE)
51. Monson Bloodset
52. Queens Road NM/2
54. Zone 2
55. 198 BLOCK 5
56. 410 gang
60. 67 Gang
61. 417 Tooting
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