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Unsolved murder of rapper, 17, shot dead while playing football with friends in South London

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Rhyheim Barton was gunned down in the street as he played football with his friends in South London.

The 17-year-old rapper was the victim of a drive-by shooting on the corner of John Ruskin Street and Camberwell New Road in Southwark on May 5, 2018.

Paramedics from London Ambulance Service and an air ambulance crew attended the scene at around 6pm, but the teen was pronounced dead around an hour later.

READ MORE: Unsolved murder of a former gang member shot dead in his car in Harlesden

Rhyheim Barton was gunned down in the street

Rhyheim, had aspirations to become an architect, had only returned to the country from Jamaica in February and had been “trying to make a difference” by learning to work with children before his murder.

A heartbreaking video also emerged the day after his death of mother Pretana Morgan, assisted by another woman, wiping her son’s blood off the pavement.

More than three years on from the killing, though, the identity of the gunman remains a mystery to detectives with witnesses reluctant to assist police.

Extensive enquiries remain ongoing into a death that “shocked and angered” residents across London.

‘I couldn’t have asked for a better son’

As she wiped the pavements clean of her son’s blood, Pretana described her son as having “so much potential”.

She said through tears: “Just let it stop. What must be, must be. It’s not about race, it’s not about nation, it’s not about culture. Nothing. It’s just a human race.

“Just one human race. So children, please let my son be the last.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better son. My son was a very handsome boy. He’s got so much potential.”

Rhyhiem’s godmother, Lacey Main, said she believed he had been shot at by someone in a car, adding that he was a rapper and became a target because he was young.

Police investigation

0 The suspect vehicle seen on a passing bus CCTV camera

The stolen car that detectives believe could hold key information

Marking the third anniversary of his death earlier this year, Metropolitan Police issued a renewed appeal focusing on a stolen car that detectives believe could hold key information relating to identifying those responsible for the killing.

Two arrests were made in the weeks following the incident, but no one has been formally charged in connection with the shooting.

Detectives have said a grey BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer with the registration WT17 CFK was seen on CCTV around the time of the shooting. They are confident it Is the vehicle used by the suspects to make their way to and from the area.

The number plates on the vehicle were not real and the true registration should have been BP17 YVV.

The car was stolen during a burglary in Essex overnight on December 23, 2017 and its plates later changed.

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who remembers seeing the vehicle in London either in its true identity or that used in connection with the murder at any time after December 24, 2017.

A £20,000 reward was also placed on offer for any information that leads to the successful arrest and conviction of those responsible for Rhyhiem’s murder.

Gang rivalry

Despite protestations from his mother claiming the opposite, Rhyhiem was reportedly a member of the Moscow17 rap group, which has a fierce rivalry with Peckham-based Zone2.

Rhyhiem appeared on former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood’s YouTube channel in April 2017.

A month before his death, Rhyhiem was involved in a rap video uploaded to YouTube challenging a rival group.

In the track titled City Of God, Rhyhiem – who rapped under the name GB – is believed to have challenged Zone 2 by asking “how you gonna make it even”.

The video, which was removed from YouTube by Moscow17 but uploaded again by another user following Rhyhiem’s death, was the most recent in several “drill” battles between the two groups.

Their violent rivalry is evident in another track where Moscow17 – who occasionally used the nickname “the Russians” – told their rivals to “check the scoreboard”.

Zone 2 responded with a video telling their opposition they will “roll up and burst them”.

‘We are determined to identify and bring to justice those responsible’

Detective Inspector Jo Sidaway, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “Rhyhiem’s murder shocked and angered people across London. We are determined to identify and bring to justice those responsible, no matter how long it takes.

“We are confident that this grey BMW Series 2 Gran Tourer was used by the gunman. We know it was stolen from Essex and that it was being used on false plates up to and beyond the date Rhyhiem was murdered.

“I am appealing to the public to assist us in identifying who was using this vehicle and where it was being kept.

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“Did you see it parked in your street? Did you notice it left in a car park? Did you see someone putting it in a garage? Any information, no matter how small, could make the difference.

“I also want to appeal to Rhyhiem’s friends. I’m sure that some of you will know who pulled the trigger. I also know that some of you may not have the most positive view of the police and may feel that coming forward with information is a betrayal or a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Please give us the information to convict the people who killed your friend. We understand that doing so will take tremendous bravery and we are here to support you in any way we can. We are waiting for your call.”

Two people, then aged 17 and 20, were arrested on suspicion of murder in June 2018. They were released under investigation.

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