Teenage postcode gang member locked up for 15 years over shootout in Wolverhampton
A teenager involved in a shootout with a rival postcode gang in which an innocent man was wounded has been locked up for 15 years.
Young children and terrified residents fled for cover as five shots were fired in broad daylight during the clash in Parkfield, Wolverhampton, which exploded into violence in the late afternoon of May 21 last year, a judge heard.
Elijah Edwards, now 19, was seen earlier in the day carrying the holdall which held the double-barrelled shotgun fired by a 16-year-old member of the Parkfield gang, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Edwards has now become the third person to be locked up over the shootout, with his 15-year sentence almost double that of the gunman who was sentenced in December and cannot be named due to his age.
Micah Lewis, the 19-year-old target of the first shot and accomplice of Edwards and the gunman, is also currently in a Young Offenders Institution.
Teenager fires back after drive-by shooting
The shotgun held by the 16-year-old was aimed at a white Seat car with a masked gunman in the front passenger seat who had opened fire outside the home of Lewis - another member of the gang – who was working on a car at the Legge Street address.
Shotgun pellets peppered the vehicle and the front of the house but Lewis was not injured by the blast which prompted the 16-year-old to then shoot at the rival’s car in nearby Joan Street.
The car continued to circle the estate until a shot fired from it wounded an innocent pedestrian in Willcock Street, metres away from Edwards' home in Pond Lane.
Interactive map shows where shootout happened:
The victim saw the vehicle with the masked man in the front passenger seat coming towards him, turned and ran before hearing a shot and feeling a “warm, stinging pain” in his left foot where he had been hit.
He had not been a target and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Meanwhile Edwards was captured on CCTV on his bike with the reloaded shotgun in a bag which was hidden under a bush where it was found soon afterwards by armed police called to the scene.
The holdall also contained five live rounds of ammunition, two spent cartridges and blue gloves worn by the shooter with traces of gunfire residue and the blood of the youth gunman on them.
Mr Justin Hugheston-Roberts, defending, said: “This was an act of crass stupidity which he would think of as bravado.
“At the time there was a gang culture in Wolverhampton and he went along with it openly.
“He saw it as a right of passage to have a criminal record.”
The incident was the third shooting in the Black Country area in a matter of days.
Edwards, from Pond Lane, Parkfield, pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
He was ordered to be detained in a Young Offenders Institution and be monitored for five years longer than normal on release.
Judge Michael Challinor, who sentenced Edwards, told him the weapon had put children and residents in “lethal danger”.
He said: “You were a member of a violent street gang with access to a weapon that put children and residents in lethal danger.
“You then hid the reloaded gun, no doubt for further use.”
The 16-year-old, now aged 17, was sentenced to eight years detention in December after admitting possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life
Lewis, now 20, admitted assisting an offender and was given two years eight months detention in a Young Offenders Institution after letting Edwards and the gunman hide their discarded clothes in his car.