A man has been shot dead by masked gunmen in front of horrified school children during an armed raid at a Worcestershire Post Office.
The victim was shot in the chest at 8.20am today (Friday) during a raid at Fairfield Post Office and General Stores, in Stourbridge Road, Fairfield, near Bromsgrove.
A second man was shot in the leg and is being treated at Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital.
A huge police search was under way for the gang who were armed with a handgun and a sledgehammer.
Detectives warned that they were dangerous men and should not be approached by members of the public.
The shooting happened just yards from Fairfield First School, which is opposite the shop, as children were arriving for classes. It was closed following the shooting and the pupils were sent home.
Headteacher Helen Hedar said: “We have had to close the school for the day. Everyone is absolutely fine. We are all safe.
“We had a few children who had arrived in the school when it happened. Everyone else was turned away.”
It is believed the raiders escaped in a silver coloured Volkswagen Golf which was found abandoned a short while later on a neighbouring road.
Locals said the post office was run by a family originally from Wales who had moved to the area several years ago.
Julie Yendall, is a regular at the shop. The 41-year-old said: “It’s one of those post offices that doubles up as an off licence and a convenience store and I use it quite often, the people who run it are lovely.
“They are really nice people and this is absolutely shocking. It is run by a guy in his 50s and his son, who is in his 20s.
“I live less than a mile from the shop and I heard the helicopter overhead, so I went outside to try and find out what was going on. I just can’t believe it.”
Local builder David Green, 59, said: "Everybody knows everybody here. They are a lovely family, just lovely people really. We always have a little chat."
He said police had cordoned off the road just outside his home 100 metres from the shop and were making door-to-door inquiries.
"At 8am everything was normal. The first I heard of it was about 15 minutes later, with all the sirens and the police helicopter. I usually get my paper at the store but I left it a bit later this morning."
Detective Superintendent Jon Groves, from the major incident unit of West Mercia Constabulary, said: “Significant resources have been committed to this investigation, which is in its very early stages at the moment.
“We would urge anybody with information who saw the silver Golf between Stourbridge Road and Bournheath Road where it was abandoned to contact us.
“The offenders are dangerous and they must not be approached.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Ambulance staff immediately started treating one man who had suffered serious multiple injuries and tried to stabilise his condition.
“Unfortunately despite the best efforts of ambulance crews and the emergency doctors nothing could be done to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene.
“The second man suffered a serious leg injury. Crews treated him at the scene before he was transferred by land ambulance to Selly Oak Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact the West Mercia Constabulary as a matter of urgency on 0300 333 3000 or they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.