A teenage girl killed in a drive-by shooting was shot by a “gun for hire” used in another murder, police have said.
Tanesha Melbourne-Blake, 17, was shot dead from a vehicle in Tottenham, north London, in April 2018.
After her death, a Browning handgun with its serial number removed was found wrapped in a towel inside a bag by a member of the public in Highgate, north London.
The weapon, which had been used in three other shootings, is believed to be a “gun for hire” that had been circulating in the local area for at least a year, according to the Met Police.
Detectives have released details about the weapon in a bid to find Tanesha’s killers.
Forensic tests have suggested that the same handgun was used to kill Tanesha as that used in the murder of 20-year-old Joseph Williams-Torres, who was killed in a case of mistaken identity in Walthamstow, east London.
Although the Metropolitan Police say there is no suggestion the two murders are linked, the fact the same weapon was used suggests it is a gun for hire.
Detective chief inspector Neil John, from the specialist crime unit, said: “I strongly believe there are people in the local community who know who killed Tanesha and I would urge them to come forward.
“The killers of Joseph are now serving life in prison thanks to a strong body of evidence against them.
“Please help us build the case against Tanesha’s killers and bring justice to her family who naturally are still very much struggling with their overwhelming grief and loss.”
Joseph was shot dead by the members of the Mali Boys gang as he sat with a friend in a van on Essex Close in Walthamstow on 14 March 2018.
His killers Hamza Ul Haq, 21, Loic Nengese, 19, and a 16-year-old were locked up for life at the Old Bailey two weeks ago.
The trio were with a group of other males when the same gun was fired at a rival gang member at Hoe Street, Walthamstow, on 9 May 2017.
On 29 September 2017, a 27-year-old man was shot in the leg in Leyton, east London, and a 39-year-old man was shot in Forest Gate, east London, on 30 December 2017, both with the same gun.
Detectives believe that following Joseph’s murder, the weapon was then passed to another gang.
Tanesha was shot dead on Chalgrove Road, Tottenham, at about 9.35pm on 2 April by a gunman in a silver Vauxhall Meriva people carrier.
Scotland Yard said there have been five arrests made as part of the investigation into her death.
A 30-year-old man, an 18-year-old man and a 22-year-old man all arrested on suspicion of murder have been released under investigation pending further inquiries.
A 50-year-old man and 26-year-old man were arrested and subsequently released with no further action.