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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 21:49 GMT
Police seek help over girls' murders
Police at the scene of the shootings
More than 60 officers are investigating the shootings
Police have revealed that two of the victims shot at a party in Birmingham - one who died and one who survived - were 18-year-old twin sisters.

Another girl was also shot dead at the private party at a hairdresser's salon in Birchfield Road, Aston, and a fourth girl was injured.

The shootings took place at 0400 GMT on Thursday.

Police say they are increasing the numbers of armed officers on the streets of the city as a direct result.

Chief Superintendent David Shaw
Everybody, including officers with many years experience, is appalled by what has taken place

Chief Superintendent David Shaw

A police spokesman said they attended the scene and found four teenage girls with gunshot injuries.

He said two of the girls, aged 17 and 18, had since died.

The two injured girls, also 17 and 18, are being treated at City Hospital.

Police have not yet talked to either of the girls, one of whom has serious injuries.

But the girls have been identified and are all from the Birmingham area.

Police said there had been a dispute at the party which started when people arrived with guns.

Chief Superintendent David Shaw at Queens Road police station said: "Everybody, including officers with many years experience, is appalled by what has taken place.

"This has led to the death of two young girls and injuries to two others.

"I must stress that help from the local community here which is a close-knit, caring community, is absolutely vital and I particularly ask for any assistance they can give us to help solve this crime."

Birmingham
Police found three injured girls at the scene

The surrounding roads including Trinity Road at its junction with the A34 are now closed.

The Rev Daniel Bowen, vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Birchfield, said: "Our first thoughts are with the family of the girls who died in the early hours of this morning.

"Our prayers must be for them as they come to terms with this devastating news.

"Hearts filled with expectation and hope at the start of the year have been broken and shattered by this terrible crime.

"We are also praying for the two girls who remain in hospital and their families.

"The whole community has woken to the New Year with a sense of tragedy and shock."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Fifty officers have been assigned to this case"
  Doug Sharp, Criminologist
"Gun crime has been rising"
  Chief Superintendent Dave Shaw
"We are deeply shocked at what has happened"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

09 Dec 02 | England
02 Dec 02 | England
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