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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 16:10 GMT
Restaurant waitress shot by gun gang
The scene of the shooting
A specialised police team is investigating the attack
A waitress is recovering in hospital after she was wounded when a gunman opened fire in a busy London restaurant.

A 17-year-old man involved in shooting later died from bullet wounds after crashing a car into a shop window near the restaurant.

The waitress was taken to hospital but her injuries are not serious.

Scotland Yard detectives from a special team set up to solve "black-on-black" shootings are investigating the attack at Nando's restaurant, in Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, at 1600 GMT on Wednesday.

Get away

Police said that an argument between up to 10 men began in the restaurant which resulted in four shots being fired.

A waitress was injured and one of the group was shot.

He got into a car and made off but drove into the front of an estate agent's office near the restaurant.

A motorcyclist was seriously injured and a motorist in another car suffered injuries in another crash as the man drove down the street.

Near miss

Police said the man died at the scene from gunshot wounds.

Richard Croft, a lettings negotiator with estate agents Winkworth, said the car swept into the shop.

"There was the most almighty crash and a car came literally hurtling into the office," he said.

"I was standing at my desk. Fortunately I was standing rather than sitting, if I had been sitting I would've been swept away - my desk disintegrated.

"It all happened in a split second, I froze, decided I was OK, I wasn't hurt.

"At that point the engine of the car was still running, there was a strong smell of petrol, we just got out as quickly as we could."

Detective Chief Inspector Duncan Wilson from Operation Trident, said: "We had mass panic and sheer terror in the restaurant and a fairly rapid exit from front doors and back doors.

'Wrong place'

"It must have been a terrifying situation for people to encounter."

A member of staff from Nando's, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals, said: "There were not many customers at the tables at the time of the shooting but the girl who was shot was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I called the police who arrived within two minutes but luckily the customers and the rest of the staff were okay."

But Mr Wilson described the main suspect as a black male, 5ft 10in to 6ft tall, slim, and wore a dark or almost black tracksuit with distinctive white piping down the arms and legs.

A post-mortem was being carried out on Thursday at Fulham Mortuary.

Police closed Uxbridge Road to conduct a forensic search of the area.

Detectives said they were keeping an open mind about the motive.

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