The head of a boxing academy which helps young people stay out of gangs said today London’s youths are “desensitised” to violence as it emerged four of its members have been killed in the past year.
Jacob Whittingham, head of programmes for charity Fight For Peace, said murders of young people in the capital had become “normalised”.
Promise Nkenda, 17, was run over, chased and stabbed to death a mile away from his home in Canning Town.
He attended the boxing academy in Newham – which has received praises from heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua – along with other victims Jordan Ajobo, 21, Karim Samms, 16, and Corey Junior Davis 14.
Mr Whittingham said: “The levels of knife and gun crime in London at present are completely intolerable, with young people in disadvantaged communities being disproportionately affected.”
Promise, a popular teenager and aspiring music producer who dreamed of working with Dizzee Rascal, was friends with Karim who was shot in the head and killed in April last year.
His family, including father Ndomingiedie Nkenda and sister Maludi Nkenda, said they believed Promise was “set up” and killed over a postcode rivalry.
Mr Whittingham said: “We would not comment on whether or not Promise’s death was a result of a postcode war as it could have been a variety of things. It could be the result of a rival area. We don’t want to say that it was a gang either.
“The sad fact is it could be either one of those or a combination of all of them. What is shocking is the way it has become normalised. All of the young people seem to just accept it. They are desensitised.
“Promise was a big character at Fight for Peace and his presence will be sorely missed by all of those whose lives he touched.”
The latest killing follows that of Mr Ajobo, who was stabbed to death after being ambushed near City airport in November.
Mr Ajobo, who coached at the club and was described a “peacemaker” and “role model” for younger members, was also instrumental in establishing a tribute wall to Karim.
Corey Junior Davis, from Newham, was shot in the back of the head in a playground on September 4 in what is believed to be a revenge attack over a stabbing at the Westfield centre.
His mother, Keisha McLeod, was trying to move him out of London because she feared he was being groomed by gangs.
Promise’s sister Ms Nkenda, 34, said the government needed to do more to combat the threat faced by London’s youngsters.
“Knife crime has gone crazy. It has to stop. My brother was too young to have his life ended in that way, he was just getting started.
“As soon as you hit 16 you are not safe. I’m scared for all the boys around here. No-one is free to live their lives or even to go to the shops.
“Promise was friendly, bubbly and down to earth. He never got into trouble. I can’t believe he is gone.”
His heartbroken father added: “It just needs to stop. I can’t even speak.”
A spokesman for the Met described Promise’s killing as a “sustained and possibly targeted attack”.
Extracted from a story in Evening Standard
Join the campaign by African Mothers Against Gangs And Knife Crime. let’s urge black youths to Drop the Knife and Stop the Killing