Police have named Abdul Ezedi as the prime suspect in a “horrific” acid attack in south London that left a woman and her two young daughters hospitalized. Eight others were also injured when a corrosive substance was thrown in Clapham on Wednesday night.
The attack took place around 8 pm on Wednesday on Lessar Avenue in the Lambeth area of south London. Police said a man exited a white Toyota Prius and threw a substance through the open window of a parked car where a woman in her late 20s was sitting with her two daughters, ages 3 and 2.
CCTV footage shows the victims frantically fleeing from the vehicle as the unknown chemical billowed in clouds of smoke. Witnesses described hearing screams and seeing the woman trying to wipe the substance off her children.
In the chaos that followed, at least eight bystanders were also injured by exposure. The victims were treated at the scene by paramedics before being rushed to the hospital. Police cordoned off Lessar Avenue to gather evidence.
The woman and her two daughters suffered “life-changing injuries,” according to police. The extent of injuries to the other victims is unknown.
Lambeth Council Leader Claire Holland visited the site of the attack and said, “My thoughts are with all those affected by the horrific attack. The victims have significant injuries that will alter their lives forever.”
Detective Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, the senior investigating officer, called it a “reckless attack” and said it was “extremely fortunate none of those injured suffered life-threatening injuries.”
Police named Abdul Ezedi, 42, as the lead suspect in the acid attack. Ezedi is known to law enforcement and has a criminal record. Police said he should be “considered dangerous” and warned the public to not approach him.
Ezedi was last seen driving the white Toyota Prius away from the scene. The vehicle was later found abandoned on a nearby street.
Police released a photo of Abdul Ezedi along with a description. He is a 42-year-old male, approximately 5′ 10″ with a slim build and short black hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing. Ezedi is known to frequent the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area.
|Police released this photo of acid attack suspect Abdul Ezedi
The motive behind the seemingly random acid attack is still unclear. Police said it is unknown if the victims were specifically targeted or if it was an unprovoked stranger attack.
Given the brutality of the assault which injured two young children, police said they are exploring all possible motives from gang retaliation to domestic violence. The Times of London reported that officials have not ruled out terrorism given the shocking nature of the crime.
Over 100 police officers are working on the investigation into the attack. Forensics teams are analyzing evidence from the scene on Lessar Avenue while detectives track leads on the suspect Abdul Ezedi.
Police are gathering footage from CCTV cameras around Clapham and appealing to local businesses and residents for video evidence related to the attack.
A hotline has been established for witnesses or those with information to come forward. Police urged locals near Lessar Avenue to check doorbell cameras and security video for images of the white Toyota Prius suspect vehicle.
Attack Condemned by Public Officials
The shocking acid assault which injured two small children has sparked outrage from politicians and community leaders.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the perpetrator a “danger to society” and said authorities would “do everything possible to bring the offender to justice.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his thoughts were with the victims of the “horrific attack” and thanked first responders. Opposition leader Keir Starmer visited one of the hospitals treating victims and spoke of the need to “come together to reject violence.”
The Muslim Council of Britain was quick to condemn the attack and urge police to increase security to prevent anti-Muslim hatred should the suspect be shown to be motivated by extremism.
Fear in Local Community
The seemingly random daytime attack has left residents shaken and fearful for their safety. Neighbors described Lessar Avenue as a quiet residential street not prone to violence.
Many citizens expressed outrage and disbelief that young children would be victimized in such a horrific assault. Parents called for police to increase their presence until the suspect is apprehended.
Officials have reached out to calm resident’s fears. They said they understand the shock caused by such a brazen attack but believe it was an isolated incident with a specific motive behind it.
Counseling services are being offered through local churches and community centers. Several candlelight vigils have already taken place to show support for the victims.
Police warned local businesses to be on alert for suspicious customers looking to purchase dangerous substances like acids, bleach, and ammonia. One line of investigation is tracking down how and where the suspect acquired the corrosive liquid used in the attack.
The public is advised not to approach the suspect directly and call 999 if Abdul Ezedi is sighted.
Officials also used the high-profile attack to remind the public on safety precautions when dangerous chemicals are detected:
- Seek fresh air and remove contaminated clothing
- Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water
- Remove contact lenses if worn
- Seek medical assistance
What Happens Next?
As the manhunt continues for Abdul Ezedi, police are hopeful the suspect will soon be apprehended and brought to justice.
The investigation remains ongoing, including processing all evidence and piecing together the motive behind the stranger acid assault which police admit was brazen even by London standards.
The victims face an uncertain path forward as they recover from severe injuries classified as life-changing. Doctors are cautiously optimistic they can reconstruct damaged tissue but the emotional trauma of the attack will stay with victims much longer.
Police urge the public to remain vigilant and provide any information that may lead to the capture of the dangerous suspect still at large. Officials vow to stand with the community until the offender is prosecuted and order is fully restored.
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