Gang member jailed after shooting boy, 12, in drive-by before saying ‘we got one’

A gang member who gunned down a 12-year-old boy in a case of mistaken identity has been jailed for life.

Stephen Dunford, 25, seriously injured the boy after he opened fire on a group of bystanders at a car park in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, on January 12.

Sheffield Crown Court heard today how a second boy only narrowly avoided injury after a bullet passed through his jumper, just inches from his head.

The boy and a group of friends were on their way to a fun-park near the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield when a white car containing five men wearing hoods and balaclavas drove past and opened fire.

The court heard how Dunford said “we got one” after multiple shots were fired at the group.

The 12-year-old was pierced in the leg but managed to escape home where he called an ambulance but doctors have since been unable to remove the bullet lodged in his thigh.

Dunford, of Sheffield, was jailed for a minimum of 19 years.

Julian Briggs of the CPS said: “Although the child was very likely not the intended target, Dunford’s clear intention that day was to kill a nearby individual, and he has now been jailed for attempted murder.

“It is only by great good fortune that his actions did not result in the death of a 12-year-old boy. And it is thanks to the boy’s evidence, despite the traumatic nature of the incident, that this highly dangerous individual has a long jail sentence.

“Our thoughts remain with the boy and his family, as he continues to recover from his injury.”

In addition, fellow gang member Brandon Bailey, 25, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in prison.

Bailey, of Sheffield, was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm and possession of criminal property after police found nearly £20,000 cash in his home.

The court previously heard how Dunford recited a rap that he had written himself during a phone call in prison, where he said a “youth was hit by a stray” in reference to a bullet.

Detective Chief Inspector Jade Brice, investigating, said: “This was an atrocious act, which resulted in the shooting of a young, innocent boy.

“The victim that day was not Dunford’s intended target, but the incident has had a profound impact on him and his family.

“CCTV footage from that afternoon shows a white car drive past the group and witnesses described shots being fired. The boys immediately ran away from the car, clearly terrified.

“One of the boys, 12 years of age at the time, was shot in the leg. He bravely managed to run home where his father, understandably traumatised, called emergency services to the scene.

“A second boy had a miraculous escape as one of the bullets struck the hood of his jacket, narrowly missing his neck and head.”

She added later that night, officers were called to a vehicle fire. It was a white Ford Focus, the same car used in the shooting.

Checks revealed the vehicle had been stolen from West Yorkshire in November 2019, DCI Brice said.