The mother of a Liverpool teenager fatally shot six years ago said she wants to face his killer, as she spoke of her distress at hearing of other young victims of gun crime.
Yusuf Sonko, 18, was one week away from completing his A-Level exams when he was shot in the head in Tagus Street in Toxteth, about 8.30pm on Friday, June 2, 2017. On the sixth anniversary of the shooting, charity Crimestoppers offered a reward of up to £20,000 for anonymous information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for his death.
His mother, Khadija Sonko, 45, told the PA news agency: “I need to face the person and ask him why. Why me? Why Yusuf? Eighteen years is too early, you don’t even let him enjoy his life. It’s just wicked.”
Eight men have been arrested in connection with the killing and remain under investigation, while another man voluntarily attended for interview, but no one has been charged with his murder, a Merseyside Police spokesman said.
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The shooting was one of five which happened within a week in Merseyside and Mr Sonko was one of three people murdered in Liverpool during June 2017 in unconnected incidents.
Last year, there were five fatal shootings in Merseyside including the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel, in Dovecot. Mrs Sonko said when she heard of other victims of gun crime in the region it brought her back to the time of her son’s murder.
She said: “I cry for them. Even though I don’t know who the mother is, I cry for them because I know what I’m going through, it never goes away. It’s always there. If I hear somebody’s child’s been murdered I cry. I say, ‘Again? Again? Why don’t they stop?’ I don’t think any mother should be going through what I am going through.”
The hair salon owner, who also works for a homeless charity, said she believed there were people out there with information about her son’s killer.
Appealing directly to them, she said: “You know what happened. Why don’t you give him justice? Why do you have to make me suffer with my family and keep the secret? This is not snitching. This is a murder case, snitching and a murder case are completely different. If you keep that information to yourself then you are wicked, you have got a wicked heart.”
Following the death of Mr Sonko, police said he was believed to have been shot as part of a dispute between rival groups of males in and around the Lodge Lane area. But the teenager, who hoped to study business or engineering, is thought to have only appeared on the periphery of one of those groups in the weeks before the attack.
His mother added: “I need people to give me justice. I’m still crying for my beautiful son.”
Detective Inspector Sarah Wilkinson said: “So far eight arrests have been made and our investigation into Yusuf’s death remains open with a new £20,000 reward from charity Crimestoppers in place until the gunman is found and brought to justice. Our detectives remain convinced there are people living in (postcode area) L8 and beyond who hold vital information that will help us find anyone responsible for Yusuf’s death.”
She appealed for anyone who witnessed the shooting, saw groups of young males running in the Lodge Lane area just before 8.30pm on the night, or saw two males on pedal bikes in the area before or after to get in touch. Information can be given to police by calling 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org.