Children scream in terror as gunman opens fire on UK playground sparking manhunt

A gunman stepped out of a car and fired shots towards a playground in Manchester on Thursday, leaving parents and children screaming in terror.

The shocking incident happened in Dainewell Park in Sale at around 6:15pm after a blue Nissan Qashqai pulled up in a cul-de-sac near where children were playing and residents were enjoying outdoor fitness classes.

Residents claim the gunman brazenly stepped out of the passenger side of the car and opened fire towards three youths stood close to a busy play park packed with young kids and parents, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The youths fled and the children screamed in terror as at least two shots were fired.

The gunman then got back into the car and sped away from the scene, witnesses said.

One eye witness, who declined to be named, said: "How those bullets didn't hit anyone I don't know.

"It was a lovely summer evening. I saw this blue car come screaming in. One lad jumped out of the door and, bang bang, he fired two shots.

"The kids in the park just screamed. They were aged between nine and 14. It's a really quiet park. The kids can go there and it's safe. Until now. It's really getting silly around here now."

Another resident, the mother of a small baby, said: "We were in the garden and we heard two bangs.

"I ducked down in panic. My partner said 'get down, that's a gun'. We ran inside. Through the window I could see a blue Qashqai speeding off.

"I went to the front door and I could hear people screaming. There was an off-duty police officer in the park and she phoned the police. We've only been here 18 months and the park is just there and it's lovely.

"There were three fitness classes going on. The kids in the park were aged from seven or eight. It's just so scary that this has happened."

A large area of Dainewell Park, including the play park inside it, remained cordoned off by police on Friday morning as Greater Manchester Police launched a hunt for the gunman.

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Patrols have been stepped up, say police.

Detective Inspector Helen Bagnall, of GMP's Trafford Division, said: "The time of day and public space this incident took place in is of huge concern and we would like to reassure people that they will see more police in the locality as our enquiries continue.

"We are aware of ongoing disruption in this locality and have recently raised patrols while we work with partner agencies to address these ongoing challenges.

"The community's safety is our utmost priority and we are continuing to engage with residents to focus policing in this area.

"We have launched a full investigation into this incident and our detectives are working hard to track down those responsible. If anyone has information, no matter how minor, this could be the breakthrough we need, so do please get in touch."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 7544 quoting incident 2483 of 01/07/21. Reports can also be made via our online live web chat function at www.gmp.police.uk.

Alternatively, details can be passed on anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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