Update: Police searched area for more than five hours looking for Chigwell shooter

Police search the scene on Sunday after a 36-year-old man from East London was shot outside Virgin A

Police search the scene on Sunday after a 36-year-old man from East London was shot outside Virgin Active in Chigwell. Photo credit: Alex Rose - Credit: Archant

Police kept gym-goers inside Virgin Active in Chigwell for more than five hours after a 36-year-old man was shot in his shoulder on Sunday afternoon.

Armed officers were called to the scene shortly before 4pm and immediately instructed everyone to remain in the gym at Woolston Hall, Abridge Road, as they searched the area for the shooter who remains at large.

Alex Rose, 22, of Chigwell, a member of Virgin Active gym, arrived at the scene around 10 minutes after the shooting took place.

He said: “The police were not there when we arrived but an ambulance crew were with the man who had been shot in his arm. He was just sat on the floor.”

The victim was later taken to a London hospital, but has since left after receiving treatment for the shoulder injury.

Mr Rose said: “In the gym everyone was talking about it - we knew that we would not be going anywhere for a couple of hours.”

He described the atmosphere as “quite calm”, before adding: “It was a bit different from a normal Sunday afternoon.

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“We came out of the complex at around 9.30pm and there were hundreds of cars trying to get out,” said Mr Rose.

“The police were only letting out cars four at a time because they were searching each one.”

Detectives and forensic teams remain at the location carrying out further enquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett said: “Specialist search teams will be carrying out a sweep of the location this morning but arrangements have been put in place to make sure that businesses at the location can open as usual.

“We have spoken to a large number of witnesses and are building up a picture of the circumstances surrounding this incident.

“We will be carrying out further enquiries today and if anyone has any information which could assist us I would ask them to call Loughton CID on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

He also added: “I would reiterate that all the information we currently have suggests there is no threat to the general public from this incident.”

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