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London Police in Shootout with Three Masked Gunmen After Car Chase

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: Police response vehicle seen near Oxford Circus underground station on November 24, 2017 in London, England. Police are responding to reports of an incident at London's Oxford Circus Tube station and have urged the public to avoid the area. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Jack Taylor/Getty
VICTORIA FRIEDMAN

Three men have been arrested after a shootout between the Metropolitan Police and masked gunmen after a car chase in East London.

Armed police were called to Lascelles Close in Leytonstone, in the London borough of Waltham Forest, at 10.45 pm on Thursday following reports of men carrying firearms.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said that upon arrival at the scene, a car failed to stop for police and officers were shortly in pursuit of the vehicle, according to The Telegraph.

The pursuit lasted for a mile until the suspects stopped before “a number of shots were fired towards officers” by masked gunmen, according to Scotland Yard, and police returned fire.

No injuries were reported and the suspects were detained at Bective Road, Forest Gate, in the East London Borough of Newham before being remanded in custody at a police station.

Witnesses reported hearing gunfire exchange after the police had caught up with the suspects, with eye-witnesses reporting more than 20 armed police officers running up one street and police helicopters circling above.

Images shared on social media show a police officer handcuffing a man on the ground next to a black BMW with a shot-out rear window.

One resident wrote on Twitter: “Coming home after a long day at the hospital there’s been a shooting near my house, shots fired between police and mask men (from what I was told).”

Another wrote: “Heard a crash sound, saw the police chase a car and then heard what sounded like gunshots. Now there’s a helicopter going around Forest Gate not sure what’s happening but it’s [sic] sounds serious.”

One woman said: “Armed police everywhere. Heard 5-6 gun shots followed by a huge police presence within 15 minutes of event.”

The Met confirmed that three men have been arrested for attempted murder.  As with any instance of a British police officer — who are not routinely armed — discharging his firearm, the incident had been referred to Scotland Yard’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

London has been in the grips of a crime wave since Labour’s Sadiq Khan became mayor, with gun crime up 16 percent in the capital.

Across England and Wales, operations by police using firearms have risen by 19 percent in the past year, and are at their highest levels in seven years as the threat of violent crime continues to grow.

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