A 12-year-old boy has died after a car reportedly mounted the pavement by a school in Loughton, Essex Police have said.
Emergency services were called to Willingale Road, close to Debden Park High School, at around 3.30pm today.
Witnesses described seeing a silver Ford KA mount the pavement, ploughing into pedestrians and throwing one child onto the bonnet.
Two 15-year-old boys, one 13-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and a woman, 53, were also injured in the incident.
A spokesperson for Essex Police confirmed that a murder investigation has now been launched.
They said: ‘A 12-year-old local boy was taken to hospital, where he sadly died. A number of other casualties were reported, but none are believed to be life-changing or life-threatening.
‘They were either treated at scene or were taken to hospital following the incident.’ All teenagers injured are believed to be pupils at at Debden Park High School. Officers ‘from across the country’ are now working to identify the vehicle and its driver, who did not stop at the scene, police said.
One dad, who wished to remain anonymous, described seeing his daughter hit by the car with her friends.
He said: ‘A Ford KA mounted the pavement behind her. Her friend was bounced onto the bonnet before another boy was hit very bad.
‘The car drove off down the road and the police arrived quickly. My daughter is safe, but the wing mirror clipped [her].’ He added: ‘It was awful to witness. Everyone is in shock.’
Inspector Rob Brettell urged anyone with CCTV or dashcam footage to get in touch with Essex Police, adding that there will likely be a ‘prolonged and serious investigation’.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Kirby of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘This has been a truly shocking incident and my deepest sympathies are with all those involved.
‘I would like to thank the many members of the public who have called us with information and spoken to our officers, as well as those who provided crucial medical assistance at the scene.’ Officers are urging anyone with information to dial 101 and quote incident number 726 of December 2.