POLICE believe the killing of a popular dad-of-two may have been planned in advance.
Tipu Sultan, 32, was found with a single gunshot wound at the rear of the Herbs n Spice kitchen takeaway in Lake Avenue, South Shields, at 9.58pm last night.
Paramedics and police attended and Mr Sultan, from Sunderland, originally from Bangladesh, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses report seeing two men wearing crash helmets and dressed in dark clothing on a motorbike drive into the rear lane in Lake Avenue just before the incident.
They were then seen driving away from the area in the direction of Lizard Lane immediately after the shooting.
South Tyneside Superintendent Sav Patsalos said: “The investigation into the murder of Tipu Sultan is in it’s very early stages and we are appealing for anyone with any information that could help us with our enquiries to contact us as soon as possible.
“We are trying to establish the motive behind the incident and a full murder investigation is currently being carried out.
“We believe that this has been an isolated incident and not a random shooting, enquiries are ongoing to establish this.”
“Those responsible may have planned the incident in advance of carrying it out and if anyone has seen anything or anyone suspicious in the area at anytime in the past few days then I’d ask them to come forward and speak to us.
“There is nothing to suggest there that is any risk to any other members of the public or any of the communities in South Tyneside and we understand this incident is extremely concerning for local people and that is why we have extra officers down in the Lake Avenue to reassure and speak to the public.
“We are doing everything we can to try and identify those responsible for this attack and I’d urge anyone with any information to contact police straight away.”
Victoria Chisholm, 37, landlady of the nearby Lake Pub, said bar staff quickly got customers back inside to keep them safe after hearing of the shooting.
She said: “I just can’t believe this has happened here. We got everyone back inside the pub because we didn’t them outside when somebody was running round with a gun.
“This sort of thing just doesn’t happen in South Shields.”
Ann Wikinson, 57, a former landlady of the Lake Pub, who lives nearby, said: “I heard something that sounded like a firework, heard the helicopter and then looked out the back to see what was happening.
“My husband had been to the pub and just came back and said he was standing outside having a cigarette and heard a bang and said he saw kids running down the alley.
“Everyone is just shocked.”
Anyone who saw the motorbike in the area around the time of the murder is asked to contact police with any information.
There is cordon in place at the scene and the area remains closed to the public while enquiries are carried out.
Extra officers are carrying out reassurance patrols in the area speaking to local residents and businesses.