A MAN was gunned down on the doorstep of a luxury £ 1.5m London townhouse in a Christmas Eve 'execution', neighbours have said.
Police have launched a murder investigation after a man was shot several times after answering his doorbell on Battersea Church Road, Battersea, South West London, at around 8.45pm last night.
The man, who neighbours describe as eastern European, becomes the 150th murder victim in the capital this year-the highest in more than a decade.
Neighbours described rushing to help the man after hearing a series of "incredibly loud bangs".
Julian Stratton, 51, was at his parents' home just metres from the scene at the time of the incident.
He said: "We are friends with a man who lives directly opposite the scene. He told us there was a knock at the victim's door, which was answered.
"Then there were five gunshots. Four back-to-back, 'bang, bang, bang, bang,' then a pause before the final shot.
"The shots were heard by many neighbours, but being Christmas Eve, most people thought they were fireworks, at first."
He added: "My neighbour's partner is a health worker. He went to help the man, who was lying on his driveway, before the police and ambulances arrived.
"My parents have lived here for more than a decade. They are surprised this has happened."
Another resident was walking his daughter to the bus stop and missed the shots by a matter of minutes.
The elderly man, who does not wish to be named, said: "I was dropping my daughter off at the bus stop and walked right passed the house in question.
"When I returned I saw what had happened. A group of people gathered around the person. I stopped, but didn't help because everything that could be done, was being done.
"If I had left five minutes later I could have got caught up in it."
Scotland Yard said: "Police were called at approximately 9pm on Tuesday, 24 December to reports of shots fired in Battersea Church Road, SW11.
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"Officers and London Ambulance Service attended and a man – believed aged in his 30s – was found suffering gunshot injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"Homicide detectives from Specialist Crime are investigating. No arrests have been made and enquiries into the circumstances continue."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD 6410 / 24Dec. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.