A FATHER who was gunned down on Christmas Eve was killed in front of his wife and young child yards from his £ 1.5million London home, Scotland Yard said today.
The unnamed man, 36, was sprayed with bullets after returning from an evening out with his family on Tuesday on Battersea Church Road, Battersea, South West London.
Met Police said the gunman fled the scene on foot towards Battersea Bridge Road.
A murder investigation has since been launched.
Neighbours have described the horrifying killing as an "execution" after the man was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
DCI Jamie Stevenson, of the Specialist Crime Command, said: "Our investigation is in the very early stages and we are still working to establish what the motive could be that has led to a man losing his life in such a horrific way, on Christmas Eve, in front of his family.
"They have been devastated by this horrible event and are being supported by specialist officers.
"We know that the victim was returning home with his wife and young child following an evening out, when he was shot just yards from his home."
No arrests have been made and a post-mortem examination will be held.
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".
'BANG BANG BANG'
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."
DCI Stevenson said: "The attack took place at 21: 00hrs in the evening. Not only would many people have been out going about their business, but I am sure many residents would have been alarmed by the sound of the disturbance and gone to see what had happened.
"Did you see a person fleeing the area? Where did they go, and what did they look like? Had you noticed anyone loitering in the area beforehand?
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Superintendent Richard Smith, of the South West Command Unit, added: "Local officers are on duty across the bank holiday and are working closely with homicide detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command, to understand what happened and bring those responsible to justice.
"There is no suggestion that there is any ongoing risk to members of the local community in Battersea. Please do contact us if you have any concerns or information relating to this incident."
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.