An Imam who was shot in the arm moments after leading evening prayers says three thugs gunned him down in the street before fleeing in a BMW.
The 47-year-old, who asked not be be named, was one of two men shot on Portland Road in Luton of UK about 9.50pm on Thursday night.
Two local men, aged 30 and 32, were arrested on Saturday morning on Blundell Road, Luton, on suspicion of attempted murder.
The father of a young son was released from hospital hours after he was shot, sporting a heavily-bandaged forearm with 11 shotgun pellets still lodged in it.
He had just left the Masjid al Madani mosque when the black BMW 4-series stopped next to him, he thought to let him cross the road.
‘Then the driver started reviving the engine. I stopped in front of the car turned to say what are you doing,’ he said.
‘He got a bit vexed by that and that’s when I saw the passenger on the back seat pull out a shotgun to show me.’
The Imam said the gunman fired two shots, the first two missing him before the third struck him – though he didn’t realise at the time.
‘The car turned right Portland Road and started to drive away and I chased after it. I managed to pick up a brick and I smashed the windscreen,’ he said.
‘I couldn’t keep up with it and further along the road is when the other man was shot I understand a pellet has gone into his eye although I didn’t see it happen.’
The Muslim teacher said the occupants of the car were three black men aged in their mid-20s to early 30s.
The powerfully built Imam, who kept fit by working out three times a week, said it was only when passers-by came to his aid that he realised he had been shot.
‘People came up to me and said you are bleeding and that’s when I saw my arm and the blood,’ he said.
An ambulance was quickly on the scene and he was taken to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital for treatment.
He said it was only when he was in hospital that he found out a second man was been and badly wounded, allegedly by the gunmen.
The Imam thought he heard five shots ring out after the car sped around the corner, presumably aimed at the second victim who remains in intensive care.
‘Who goes round shooting at people like this? They are cowards. I wasn’t targeted, it was just random, it’s madness’ he said.
‘There is a lot of concern in the community, people are infuriated by what happened as you would expect.
‘I had to present myself to Friday Prayers at the mosque to reassure everyone and calm everyone and to tell them the police were dealing with the situation.’
Portland Road is a residential street in the Bury Park area of Luton where many Muslim families live, and also has several small car repairs workshops and tyre fitters.
The Imam said there hadn’t been any similar incidents in the street and the shooting had ‘just come suddenly out of the blue’.
He said he must return to hospital in the next few days when it will be decided what to do about the 11 pellets still embedded in his right forearm.
The shooting was on the same night as six teenagers were stabbed, but none were killed, and three days after the latest of 55 murders in London this year.