The mum of an Abingdon woman brutally shot in the head at point blank range described saying goodbye to her daughter at her hospital bed as police reveal they are hunting an armed gunman from Abingdon.
Kerry Reeves, 26, died in Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital yesterday after the shooting on Tuesday night in what police believe was an argument between two groups of people.
Police today published a photo of 20-year-old Billy Johnson who is wanted in connection to the murder and warned he may well be armed and dangerous.
Miss Reeves’ mum Nicola said: “On Tuesday evening my beautiful, funny daughter was brutally taken from me, aged just 26.
“Holding her in my arms for the last time is something a mother should never have to go through. Trying to take in how she looked, kissing her, never wanting to let her go.
“Myself and Kerry’s family are completely devastated not only by the loss of our beautiful young girl but the horrific way Kerry was taken from us.”
A second suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday and has been bailed until December 5.
Johnson is white, 5ft 8ins, with very short brown hair and blue eyes. He has tattoos on his right arm of clouds and the word ‘mum’, as well as a tattoo on his right hand which says ‘life is precious’.
He is from Abingdon and has links to London, Corby in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire.
Miss Reeve’s granddad Patrick Reeves, 65, appealed for anyone with information to come forward during a press conference earlier today (below).
Detective Superintendent Chris Ward, head of major crimes at Thames Valley Police, said: “Kerry was brutally shot at close range and her family is understandably devastated by her untimely death.
“We know [Johnson] was in Abingdon on the evening of the murder. We haven’t had any reported sightings.
“There are other people in the Abingdon area who will have an idea why this happened.”
Det Supt Ward said police did not currently know a motive but that he believed it was the result of a disagreement between two small groups of people.
He added: “There is nothing I have seen that says it was mistaken identity. My belief is whoever is responsible has targeted her specifically.
“If you discharge a firearm at that close range to someone’s head there is a high chance it will result in injury or death.”
Miss Reeves was shot before 8.15pm on Tuesday night in the garden of a block of flats in Thornhill Walk.
She was rushed to Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital in a critical condition but died from her injuries at 11.43am on Thursday.
The post mortem into Miss Reeves’ death is due to be held on Monday.
A 20-year-old suspect from Ealing in London was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Wednesday night and was held in police custody.
He was rearrested on suspicion of murder after Miss Reeves’ death and has been bailed until December 5.
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Lynch said: “Our thoughts are with Kerry’s family at this very difficult time.
“Our investigation appears to indicate that this was not a random attack and the offenders knew Kerry.
“We are still actively searching for a further suspect.”
Officers investigating the circumstances of the shooting carried out searches and forensic examinations in and around nearby Northcourt Road.
Thames Valley Police have said 60 officers are working on the murder investigation.
One resident who lives opposite who asked not to be named said: “We just heard a loud bang and someone screamed.
“That was about 8.25pm. Then we saw blue lights flashing.
“I thought it was too loud a bang to be a firework.”
He added a young person told him they had seen the woman’s face was badly injured.
Another resident of nearby Longmead said: “I heard a gunshot. I said ‘it’s probably a firework’, we didn’t think anything of it.
“You just don’t expect something like that. It’s a very sad case. We heard a shout after and it sounded like a man. He must have been angry.”
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
Tuesday, November 3
8.14pm: Paramedics called to Thornhill walk to reports a woman was shot
8.20pm: Police called to the scene
Victim Kerry Reeves, from Abingdon, is taken to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital
Wednesday, November 4
11am: Garden area of block of flats cordon off and forensic investigators arrive
Midday: Residents recall hearing a loud bang and shouts the night before
2.32pm: Police launch manhunt for two suspects
Evening: A 20-year-old man from Ealing arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
Thursday, November 5
11.43am: Kerry Reeves dies from her injuries in hospital
5.10pm: Police re-arrest suspect on suspicion of murder
Today, November 6
2pm: Police call press conference appealing to track down key suspect Billy Johnson
2.30pm: Miss Reeves’ mum Nicola pays tribute to her ‘funny, beautiful daughter’