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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 14:48 GMT
Shooting victim's mother asks for help
From left: Cheryl Shaw, Charlene Ellis, Sophie Ellis and Latisha Shakespeare
This photo was taken of the four girls before the party
The mother of a teenage girl shot dead outside a hairdresser's shop in Birmingham has urged witnesses to come forward.

Marcia Shakespeare, mother of 17-year-old Latisha Shakespeare, who was shot in Aston last Thursday, said a part of her had died when her daughter was killed.

She told a news conference on Monday: "I don't want another incident, children to be killed. It has got to stop now.

"A part of me died when Latisha died. If you do not come forward after this what is left, what could be worse? This is as bad as it gets, please help."

Marcia Shakespeare, mother of Latisha Shakespeare who was shot dead in Aston
'A part of me died when Latisha died.'

Mrs Shakespeare's plea came after two new witnesses were identified by police following last week's shooting of four teenage girls outside a hairdressers in Birmingham.

A series of searches were carried out over the weekend as part of the murder inquiry into the deaths of Charlene Ellis and Latisha in Aston last Thursday.

West Midlands police said 10 search warrants were carried out by officers who had hoped to find illegal firearms, but none were recovered and no arrests were made.

Detective Superintendent David Mirfield told the news conference in Birmingham that many witnesses, including some gang members, had broken their silence.

More witnesses

"They too have been shocked by what has happened and I believe they have a genuine desire to see those responsible arrested and charged," he said.

Mr Mirfield said Latisha was shot four times and Charlene three times by the same weapon - a sub-machine gun.

He said the girls were in a group of 25 when they were shot but said he didn't believe they were the intended targets.

We are getting lots of calls, mostly anonymous

Chief Inspector Steve Glover

Police appealed for help in finding the occupants of two cars seen leaving the scene - a white or silver Vauxhall Vectra and a smaller red car.

Chief Inspector Steve Glover told BBC WM he believed more witnesses would come forward.

"It is good that we're getting cooperation from the public and not this wall of silence that was predicted.

"We are getting lots of calls, mostly anonymous, but the problem with that is we have to research the information and corroborate it."

Church service

The four girls had been at a party held at a hairdressers in the Aston area of the city.

Charlene's twin sister, Sophie is still under armed guard in hospital.

Their cousin, 17-year-old Cheryl Shaw, was treated for a hand wound.

A memorial service for the victims was held on Monday morning at a church near the scene of the fatal shootings.

Friends of the two girls who died had been due to attend Holy Trinity Church, where on Sunday a packed congregation took part in a service dedicated to the girls and signed a book of condolence.

  Victim's mother, Marcia Shakespear
"This is as bad as it gets... please help"
  The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"Police are now sure they were caught in the crossfire between two rival gangs"

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online

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04 Jan 03 | England
03 Jan 03 | England
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