Neighbours of a teenage boy who allegedly blasted a former school friend in the face claim they would hear him firing a BB gun in his back garden.
The teenager was arrested two hours after a year 11 pupil, 15, was shot in the jaw at close range on his way to Kesgrave High School with what witnesses have described as 'a long bore rifle'.
A school source said the boy - who is critical in hospital - was close friends with his alleged shooter but in recent weeks had a falling out.
The alleged shooter's mother said she thought her son was at school at the time of the shooting on Monday.
The suspect lived with his single mother in a terraced home in the village of Woodbridge, five miles from the scene of the shooting.
Neighbours described the teenager as ‘a nice young lad’ who was always pleasant to talk to.
‘There has never been a problem with him, he was a nice lad’ said one neighbour.
‘I hear him out in the back garden shooting. It was a BB gun or something similar.
‘He lives with his mother, it's just been the two of them for years, but I think she now has a boyfriend.’
His mother claims she hasn't been able to speak to her son - who was yesterday arrested by armed police in Ipswich on suspicion of attempted murder.
She told The Sun: 'I haven't been able to speak to my son, I can't even talk to my boy.'
She added: 'It's serious isn't it? It's obviously serious. I'm shocked, I thought my boy was at school, can you imagine?'
The shooting happened at 8.40am in an upmarket area of Kesgrave, near Ipswich, Suffolk.
Paramedics spent 90 minutes battling to help the boy before he was airlifted to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
A teenager (pictured) has been arrested by police after a 15-year-old boy was shot on his way to school in front of terrified pupils near Ipswich on Monday
The alleged attacker – believed to be a former friend – is believed to have hid in a back garden behind an animal enclosure just moments after the attack in Kesgrave, Suffolk
The parents of the 15-year-old victim rushed from their home and fought to save their son after hearing the gun blast.
A neighbour who also ran to help the boy after hearing his screams has described the horrific scene as 'like a war zone.'
The 77-year-old, who asked not to be named, said the victim's parents comforted him as they waited for an ambulance to arrive.
'It was like a war zone,' said the neighbour. 'I was in my house and heard a loud bang and looked out to see what had happened.
'I ran out to see if I could help and was offering to perform CPR but it was not needed.
'People were on the phone telling the ambulance to hurry up. It was awful to see. From my medical experience I would say he will have life changing injuries.'
The neighbour said he saw a long bore rifle at the scene.
He said he had spent two hours with police giving a detailed statement of the events.
The suspect was pictured being hauled into a police car in handcuffs less than six miles from the shooting in Kesgrave. Pictured: Police outside a property close to the scene of the shooting
A witness said the boy was not perturbed by the armed officers who rushed to his car - which he was seen driving moments before - to arrest him. Pictured: Police stopping a convertible car. It is unclear if this car is connected to the shooting
Officers using a metal detector searched pathways and driveways for fragments of the bullet.
Gun expert Neil May said long barrel firearms usually refers to rifles.
'A long barrel firearm would typically be a rifle that fires an single centre shot,' he said.
Mr May, who sells up to 200 rifles a year from his store Kent Gunsmiths in Faversham, Kent, said the ownership of such weapons is very tightly controlled by the police.
'Anyone who wants to own a gun has to have a reason. It is a long process lasting up to six months before someone can own the gun.
'The licence that is issued is determined by what the gun will be used for. If it is a farmer who uses the weapon on his land to kill vermin then he will be licenced for a particular velocity.'
All owners have to undergo a police interview and criminal records check with their homes inspected to make sure that the weapon is stored in a locked safe.
The cost of such rifles range from £100 up to £3,000.
The website guntrader.uk has dozens of rifles for sale including a £2,000 Sako sniper rifle and bolt action rifles that cost less than £200.
Friends described the victim as a 'lovely lad' and a 'normal kid' who enjoyed being a Scout and music.
It has been claimed the two boys used to be friends but had fallen out.
Two hours after the attack, armed police pounced on the suspected gunman in another part of Kesgrave. Residents described their shock as a dozen firearms officers swooped with dogs.
The boy was said to be found in a convertible car belonging to his father outside a large detached home.
The unnamed victim had been returning to school for the first time since lockdown when he was blasted in the jaw, according to witnesses.
Police have confirmed a weapon has been recovered.
Suffolk police have not revealed where the firearm was found.
Superintendent Kerry Cutler said: 'We have arrested an individual that we believe is involved in the incident and we also recovered a weapon.
'The suspect, who is said to be from the Woodbridge area, was arrested by armed police on suspicion of attempted murder of the Kesgrave High School pupil.
'Everybody is shocked,