LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) Detectives hunting the killers of a 16-year-old boy shot dead in a Sheffield park promised today to protect any witnesses who came forward.
Jonathan Matondo was found by police and paramedics in a recreation area in the Burngreave part of the city at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday.
A post mortem revealed he had died from a single bullet wound to the head.
''He was only 16, much too young to die and much loved by his friends, family and all the community,'' his uncle Armand Vibila told a press conference.
''He was such a good boy, so funny. This should not happen to our community, this should not happen to my Jonathan. So I wish to ask for anyone to assist the police.'' Chief Superintendent Jon House said information police had already received would help them to make arrests soon. He also said those coming forward would be protected.
''Anybody who wishes to come forward and give us information will be afforded the appropriate protection to ensure they can do so in safety,'' he said.
''We will ensure that information gets used to ensure we are able to put these offenders behind bars as quickly as possible.'' He also said armed police patrols will be operating in the area to reassure local people.
Police would not say whether they believed the shooting was gang-related, but said they were looking into reports about potential gangs or groups of children who hung around the area.
Reuters RSA RN2339