'I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it' - residents shock after South Shields pensioner, 84, shot with air rifle in aggravated burglary
Residents have spoken of their shock after an 84-year-old man was shot by an air rifle gun while trying to fight off a masked raider with a broomstick.
A manhunt is under way after a pensioner was shot by a suspected air rifle during an aggravated burglary in Manet Gardens, in the Whiteleas area of South Shields, at around 5.30pm on Tuesday, January 7.
It was reported that a man wearing a mask had forced entry to the address and demanded money from the occupant, an 84-year-old man who was alone inside the property.
The victim confronted the man with a broomstick, at which point the intruder discharged what is believed to be an air gun and then fled the address empty-handed.
Now neighbours have spoken of their shock following the ‘dreadful’ attack.
One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s a terrible shock. There’s lots of elderly people in this area and it’s so scary to think what has happened.
“Anybody, even children, could have been walking past at the time.
“It’s just so upsetting and I hope the poor man is alright. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it.
“I was in shock when my daughter called up to tell me what had happened.
“It’s absolutely dreadful. I hope they find who did it.”
Another neighbour said: “It’s just shocking. For this to happen to an elderly man, you just can’t believe it.”
Emergency services attended and the victim was taken to hospital with a minor chest injury.
An investigation has been launched into the incident and a team of detectives are now carrying out a number of enquiries in the area to determine a chronology of events and locate those responsible.
Thomas Gibbons, 69, who lives nearby, said: “I’ve lived here all my life since 1957 and the whole estate has gone down hill.
“I think I’ve seen more police here in the last year than I have in the entire time I’ve lived here.”
Police are now asking any witnesses, or those who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time of the offence, to come forward.
The attacker is described as white, around 6ft tall, wearing dark clothing and a mask.
Detective Chief Inspector Sean Mcguigan, of Northumbria Police, said: “Crimes of this nature are rare in this area but I fully understand the effects that this type of incident can have on not only the victim and their family, but the wider community as a whole.
“As a result, we are committed to carrying out a swift and thorough investigation to ensure those responsible are located and arrested.
“We are satisfied that there is no wider threat to the public, but an increased police presence will be seen in the area as officers carry out inquiries and offer reassurance to residents.”
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log 841 070120 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.