Liverpool shooting: Murder investigation begins after nine-year-old girl fatally shot
Officers began a murder investigation after attending a house in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, at 10pm following reports that an unknown male had fired a gun inside the property, Merseyside Police said.
The nine-year-old girl suffered a gunshot injury to the chest and was taken in a critical condition to hospital, where she later died.
A man also suffered gunshot wounds to his body and a woman suffered a gunshot injury to her hand during the incident inside the house, the force added. They have both been taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries.
The force said house-to-house, CCTV and forensic inquiries are in the process of being carried out, while a cordon is also in place.
Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: “This is a truly shocking incident in which tragically a young and innocent girl has been shot and sadly died.
“Our thoughts and condolences go to her family and friends at this very difficult time. No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child in these dreadful circumstances.
This crime is abhorrent and our communities must come forward and tell us who is responsible.
“This cowardly individual does not deserve to be walking the streets and I would urge those who know anything to speak to us and tell us what they know so that we can put the person responsible behind bars where they belong.
“We are carrying out a number of lines of inquiry as a matter of urgency and would ask for dashcam, CCTV or mobile phone footage from anyone who lives, works or was visiting the area of Kingsheath Avenue last night.”
It comes after a spate of killings involving guns and knives on Merseyside.
The same night as the Knotty Ash shootings, two men were arrested over the fatal stabbing of a woman in her 50s in Cherryfield Drive, Kirkby.
In a separate incident, 28-year-old Knowsley Council worker Ashley Dale died after being shot in the Old Swan area of Liverpool in the early hours of Sunday.
And police are still searching for two people who fled on electric bikes following the fatal shooting of a man in his early 20s in inner-city Toxteth late on August 16.
The incident is the latest in a series of high-profile cases in Liverpool where children have been killed with guns or knives.
On the same day as the girl’s death, the city marked the 15th anniversary of the killing of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, who was shot in Croxteth on August 22 2007.
Just last month, a teenage boy was jailed for the murder of 12-year-old Ava White, who was stabbed to death in Liverpool city centre following a row over a Snapchat video last November.
Reacting to the latest killing, Liverpool Wavertree Labour MP Paula Barker told BBC Breakfast: “It is obviously devastating and it comes 15 years to the day after Rhys Jones was senselessly murdered on the streets of our city as well. It is completely unacceptable and this mindless violence simply has to stop.
“I think, as a city, we come together in adversity and I know people in Liverpool will be absolutely horrified this morning.”
Ms Barker added that it took “so many years” to get justice for Rhys and urged anyone with information to contact Merseyside Police either anonymously or otherwise.
“We cannot allow that to happen to the family of this little girl,” she said.
The Liverpool Echo reported officers shining lights into houses overnight and patrolling the surrounding area, some on foot and others by car.
Sniffer dogs and forensic vans were also spotted near the house where the shooting is said to have taken place, with residents visibly shaken, the outlet reported.
It quoted a neighbour as saying their family heard four gunshots before police arrived, with another describing the incident as “disgusting”.
The killing came hours after police said they were aware there was sometimes a culture of “not grassing” to officers.
Merseyside Police have asked anyone with information on the Knotty Ash shootings to direct message @MerPolCC or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of August 22.