Terrified children looked on amid "frantic" scenes after a man was stabbed to death in a suspected robbery.
A 38-year-old man died from a single stab wound at the junction of Parson Street and Brent Street, Hendon, at 5.30pm last night.
The man, who police believe was the victim of a robbery, was found collapsed on the pavement.
Police, paramedics and air ambulance doctors fought to save his life for more than 30 minutes before he was pronounced dead.
Loretta Fuller, who lives in Manchester, was visiting her three-year-old granddaughter and eight-year-old grandson when she saw officers desperately trying to resuscitate the man.
She told the Times Series: “It was frightening, I had errands to run but had to usher the kids away from it all. They kept asking me what was going on and what happened to the poor man on the floor. There was a lot of blood.”
A 16-year-old girl and a 17-year-old girl have both been arrested in connection with the incident, as well as a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old man. They remain in police custody.
The attack took place opposite St Mary’s Secondary School, in Downage, which will be shut for the rest of the day as investigators carry out forensic testing.
Delivery driver Nirav Barot was on his motorbike outside Hayden Court when he saw a man lying on the footpath opposite. He said: “I was a little bit scared. I didn’t know what was going on, but they began doing CPR and I was hoping the man would be ok. There was a lot of blood everywhere.
“Luckily there were no school children around otherwise it could have been quite traumatic for them. I was frightened about the whole thing.”
Hugh Penson, who works at Jayson Russell, said: “It was like something out of Grand Theft Auto. Police cars came flying past and raced up the hill and began giving the man CPR. It was shocking.”
Heena Patel, who owns Hillside Wines, was in the shop on her own at the time of the incident.
Police told her to lock herself in the shop until her husband came to pick her up. She said: “It seemed pretty frantic, but I wasn’t scared though, because the police did an amazing job in helping everyone feel safe.”
A police cordon is still in place and cars are being diverted via Tenterden Grove.
Jiten Shah, who owns MMS Newsagents on Church Road, said: “It’s very out of the blue. Customers are shocked and shaken – but it’s usually a very safe area. It’s near a school so it’s lucky there weren’t loads of children in the area at that time.”
Detective chief inspector Matt Bonner of the homicide and serious crime command, who is leading the investigation, said: "This is a busy area for highway traffic and it was a bright clear day.
“I'm certain people driving or walking through the area saw something leading up to and during the stabbing that could be of vital importance to investigators.
"I would urge those people to contact us so that we can piece together the events that lead up to this murder.”