The mother of a 17-year-old shot dead near his home in south London has paid tribute to her “handsome boy” who had “so much potential”.
Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton was discovered with critical injuries on Warham Street in Southwark on Saturday evening, after officers were called to reports of gunshots on nearby Cooks Road shortly after 6pm.
Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance went to the scene, but the teenager was pronounced dead just before 7pm.
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.
His mother, Pretana Morgan, told reporters he was not in a gang and aspired to be an architect.
The death is the latest in a spate of violent crimes in the capital, as police investigate more than 60 alleged murders so far this year.
Rhyhiem’s mother, Pretana Morgan, told reporters near her home in the Brandon Estate: “I couldn’t have asked for a better son.
“My son was a very handsome boy. He’s got so much potential.”
She said he had gone to her home country of Jamaica last summer after a threat in London, and had just returned to the capital in February.
Tearfully, she said he had been “trying to make a difference” by learning to work with children.
“This is not life. My son’s a good boy,” she added, as she stood by a wall where Rhyhiem’s provisional driving licence, a little bag of his baby teeth, and a photo of her feeding him when he was a baby were placed.
“We do not need this,” she said. “We cannot be doing this all the time, teenagers you need to stop please.
“Enjoy your life, your youth, get knowledge in your head, get wisdom and knowledge.
“You only have one life, you better make use of it.”
Police tape surrounded much of the area around Aberfeldy House and officers remained at the scene on Sunday morning.
Ms Morgan, who also has a six-year-old daughter, criticised police, saying: “We’re not being protected because of the police.
“The police are the ones putting us in danger.”
The Metropolitan Police have urged anyone who was in the area of Aberfeldy House at the time of the shooting to contact them.
Police have yet to formally identify the victim and a post-mortem examination will take place in due course.
No arrests have been made.