A nine-year-old girl has been shot dead in her own home by an unknown gunman who remains on the loose.
Merseyside Police officers descended on Kotty Ash, Liverpool, following the bloody rampage which left two others injured late last night.
Neighbours heard gunshots ring out in Kingsheath Avenue around 10:00 pm before the mystery attacker fled the scene.
The victim – who has not been named – suffered a gunshot injury to the chest and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
She has since sadly 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.
They have both been taken to hospital for treatment for their injuries.
It came 15 years to the day after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead in Croxteth.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s really disgusting and it will not be tolerated around here.
“It’s just been the anniversary of Rhys Jones’s death.
“I believe because a child was involved people will name the culprit and he deserves to be named because he is a coward.”
Residents have described hearing up to four gunshots being fired.
One, aged 19, told The Mirror: “I was in the back garden having a smoke and I heard two gunshots go off at around 9.30 pm/10pmish, I came out the front, there were loads of police coming down the street and then I saw three ambulances.”
They said the local authority needs to step in because “it’s not a safe environment for any children”.
“If they spent some money giving them something to do they would get off the street and stop causing mayhem,” they added.
Another local, who did not want to be named, said the shooting made her worry for her own children.
“It’s devastating. It can’t carry on like this,” she said.
“I have four boys and for this to happen on our own doorstep is shocking.
“The streets here are always full of kids playing.”
A 57-year-old resident told The Mirror: “Everyone is terrified.
“I’ve lived here all my life and it’s actually a lovely place to live. I’m shocked by this.
“There has been a lot more antisocial behaviour in the area in recent years, there’s always cars flying up and down here, I’ve actually been out and stopped the cars, told them ‘slow down, there are kids playing on here.
“But for someone to start shooting wildly they need to be taken off the street.
“Everybody on the street knows them, this street is full of young kids. The side streets need to be blocked off because there are too many getaway routes for people to run away.
“The wrong people have moved here. A house got sprayed over there not long back. If you are after someone, a particular person go after them don’t start shooting at houses with kids.”
The girl’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specially trained family liaison officers.
An investigation is underway and house-to-house, CCTV and forensic enquiries are in the process of being carried out.
A cordon remains in place this morning.
There is a large police and media presence on the road.
Tributes have been paid online.
Ste Smith: “So heartbreaking can’t imagine what her family are going through it’s sickening as a parent myself to see these headlines I hope to god the attacker gets caught and gets what they deserve! RIP little angel.”
Ella McKenzie added: “All this ‘grass’ and ‘wall of silence if you know who’s going around murdering young innocent lads, young girls and now a 9-year-old baby then tell.
“Call crime stoppers if need be before more innocent ppl are taken and get these victims and their families justice.”
This is the second shooting in Liverpool in a matter of days.
Ashley Dale, 28, was not the ‘intended target’ when she was fatally gunned down in a garden shortly after midnight on Sunday, August 21.
Referring to both deaths, a Liverpool resident said on Facebook: “The entire city is shocked, appalled and heartbroken over what has happened here the last few days.
“I honestly don’t know what else to say but something has to be done. Where are they getting the guns? People must know the perpetrators and they must start talking. They need to be taken off the streets.”
Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said of yesterday’s incident: “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 enquiry as a matter of urgency and would ask for a dashcam, CCTV or mobile phone footage from anyone who lives, works or was visiting the area of Kingsheath Avenue last night.”