By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
Families in sleepy South Croydon have been shocked by a fatal shooting during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Leroy Mitchell was shot dead in a car park on the corner of Birdhurst Road and Coombe Road shortly before 5am on Saturday.
Police believe the 35-year-old had attended a silent disco in the area before the shooting.
Forensics teams and police officers were at the scene of the shooting on Monday afternoon while flowers and messages were left next to a tree in Birdhurst Road.
James Read, 39, lives nearby and couldn’t believe the shooting had happened.
“Shocked isn’t the word. It is quite traumatic for someone to come and do such an awful thing,” he said.
“I’ve lived here 10 years and there have been occasional stabbings and group fights but not a shooting.
“I’ve always felt safe around here, nothing like this has happened since I’ve been here.”
Stephen Kennedy was leaving for work at the time of the shooting but says he didn’t hear any gunshots.
The 52-year-old said: “I left for work about 4.50am, it was quiet when I walked out of my house.
“I heard a lot of shouting as I went to the bus stop but I thought it was just noisy teenagers.
“I have lived here 40 years, it is a quiet area I generally feel it is a safe place. This is a one off, it’s not as if this happens al the time.”
A mum of young children who asked not to be named said she had recently moved to the Coombe Road.
She said: “I chose to live here because it is quiet, it is very shocking.”
Tony Morgan has lived locally for 25 years and says it is the first time a serious crime has happened in the area.
The 74-year-old said: “We don’t normally get this sort of problem.
“This area is fine and we are very happy with it. I think Croydon is very underrated. It is unfortunately the butt of comedian’s jokes.”
A 68-year-old woman who has lived in the Birdhurst Road area for 30 years said: “It is disturbing obviously and really sad.”
She added that although she has never felt unsafe in the area she was scared when she heard being car broken into on Sunday fearing the bang was another shooting.
Police are now appealing for witnesses or anyone who may have dash-cam footage at the time of the incident.
Detectives are asking anyone who was at a house party in the area or who saw Leroy on Friday night (October 1) to get in touch. They are urging people, even those that don’t think they saw or heard anything, to come forward.
Detective Chief Inspector Katherine Goodwin, who is leading the investigation, said: “Leroy was a popular local man and his family and friends have been left absolutely devastated by his death.”
Pictured top: Police forensic teams at Birdhurst Road
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