Page last updated at 03:54 GMT, Thursday, 23 August 2007 04:54 UK

Boy, 11, dies after pub shooting

Police outside the Fir Tree pub
The 11-year-old was hit by one of three shots fired

An 11-year-old boy has died after being shot in the neck in the Croxteth area of Liverpool.

The incident happened at about 1930 BST on Wednesday in the car park of the Fir Tree public house on Fir Tree Drive.

A witness said the victim was one of three boys walking across the car park when a teenager on a BMX bicycle fired three shots, one of which hit the boy.

Merseyside Police have appealed directly to local gangs for information about the killing.

Officers have sealed off the scene, including a neighbouring parade of shops, and no-one has yet been arrested in connection with the shooting.

'Ripped apart'

Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne appealed to the local community to help catch the killer.

He said: "Someone out there knows who put the gun in his hand and I want your help to get the community to turn that gunman in.

Map of Croxteth
"This is quite an awful crime, quite senseless, and the community holds the clue to solving this crime quickly.

"You can only imagine the heartache of the family that's been ripped apart.

"We urge anybody, particularly in the criminal fraternity, that this is quite an awful and senseless crime and please turn in who is responsible quickly.

"There is no hiding place and no time for silence."

The eyewitness, who did not want to be named but was drinking outside the pub, said a youth aged about 14 or 15, wearing a hoodie, rode up to the car park and fired three shots from a distance of about 30 metres.

One shot missed the boys and another hit a car, while the other bullet entered the victim's neck.

People came from the pub to help the victim, whose mother was also called to the scene.

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: "We treated an 11-year-old with serious gunshot wounds."

He added the boy, who had been returning from football training on playing fields close to the pub, was taken to Alder Hey hospital where he was pronounced dead.

'Gangs of youths'

Councillor Rose Bailey, who lives nearby and is a member of the local police authority, appealed for people with information to come forward.

She added: "It sends shockwaves through the community of Croxteth and really it must be devastating.

"To think your young son is out playing football and then to get a call to say he's been shot, I really don't know as a parent how you would handle that."

The area around the pub was made a "designated area" by police last year, meaning officers could disperse groups and move people away from the area.

The decision was made in response to concerns raised by local residents about youths gathering outside the pub and local shops.

At the time, Neighbourhood Inspector Louise Harrison said: "The designated area has been introduced in response to concerns about gangs of youths who hang around the local area behaving in an anti-social way."

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