TIPU Sultan’s cold-blooded killing is the third – so far – unsolved fatal shooting in South Tyneside.
While police say it is still early in their investigation, there have been two other cases in recent years in which the murderers involved were never brought to justice.
Detective Chief Inspector John Bent says that while there have been three high-profile killings in the borough, there is nothing to link the crimes together.
He said: “We have had a number of incidents in the South Tyneside area and they have unfortunately been shootings, but there nothing to clearly link these together, either through motive, offender, or anything else.”
Nightclub doorman Kevin Nightingale was murdered on February 17, 1996, and the person who fired the fatal shots has never been caught.
Last year, the police renewed their appeal into on the doorstep of his home in Drake Close, South Shields.
Just over half a mile away from the scene of Tipu’s murder, on May 24, 2006, David ‘Noddy’ Rice was shot as he sat in his car at Marsden Grotto.
Steven Bevans, of Sunderland, was given life sentence after pleading guilty to luring the 42-year-old to his death.
Another man was given four years after pleading guilty to assisting an offender.
However, prime suspect Allan Foster, who police believe fired the fatal shots, is thought to have fled to Spain in the days after the execution, and has been on the run ever since.
Det Chie Insp Bent said: “The murder of Noddy Rice was just half a mile away on the seafront, but someone was arrested and charged. I know there is an offender who still hasn’t been found.
“The Kevin Nightingale murder is currently being re-investigated, and that’s more than 15 years ago now.
“It’s just been that the high-profile shootings have unfortunately been in the South Tyneside area, but they are well spaced out in terms of years.”
He added: “Shooting incidents are very rare within the Northumbria Police force area. It is a pretty much a very safe place to live and work.”