A 17-year-old girl killed in a drive-by shooting was shot by a “gun for hire” used in another murder, Scotland Yard said.
Tanesha Melbourne-Blake was socialising with friends when she was shot dead from a vehicle in Tottenham, north London, in April 2018.
A month earlier, 20-year-old Joseph Williams-Torres was killed in a case of mistaken identity in Walthamstow, east London.
Although the Metropolitan Police say there is no suggestion that the two murders are linked, forensic tests on the bullet recovered from Tanesha’s body found that the same handgun was used.
Detectives are releasing details about the weapon, which was also used in three other shootings, in efforts to find Tanesha’s killers.
A Czech-made Browning handgun, with its serial number removed, was discovered wrapped in a towel inside a bag by a member of the public on Tudor Close in Highgate, north London, on May 19 2018.
It is believed it was a “gun for hire” that had been circulating in the local area for at least a year, according to the Met.
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’s 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.
Ul Haq, of Manor Park, was jailed for a minimum term of 28 years, while Nengese, from Walthamstow, was locked up for a minimum of 21 years and the 16-year-old youth was locked up for at least 18 years.
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 March 14 2018.
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 May 9 2017.
On September 29 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 December 30 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 April 2 by a gunman in a silver Vauxhall Meriva people carrier.
The mentor to younger teenagers, who had seven siblings and half-siblings, died at the scene and the car, with the registration KS56 NKG, was found torched in Barnet five days later.
Detectives believe that there were at least two people inside the vehicle and at least two more shots were fired into the street.
The suspect who fired the shots is described as a black male with a slit in his eyebrow, and wore black clothing, including black gloves.
“Tanesha was not somebody who got herself into problems. She had friends all over, she was always a peacemaker,” Tanesha’s mother said.
“It’s disgusting how youngsters are able to put their hands on guns like this. They really should be into doing something better with their lives rather than taking other people’s lives.”
Scotland Yard said there have been five arrests made as part of the investigation into Tanesha’s 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.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police in confidence on 020 8358 0100, tweet @MetCC or stay contact Crimestoppers.