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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 17:56 GMT
Police seek shooting victim's brother
From left: Cheryl Shaw, Charlene Ellis, Sophie Ellis and Latisha Shakespeare
The girls were not involved with gangs
Police investigating the fatal shootings of two teenagers outside a party in Birmingham have confirmed they wish to speak to the brother of one of the dead girls.

It is believed Marcus Ellis may have witnessed the incident in which his sister Charlene, 18, and Latisha Shakespeare, 17, were killed.

The 23-year-old is said to be a member of The Burger Bar Boys, one of the Birmingham-based gangs whose violent clash with rivals the Johnson Crew is thought to have led to the tragedy.

Detectives stressed there is no warrant out for the arrest of Mr Ellis.

Rival gangs

Charlene's father, Arthur Ellis, earlier appealed for his son to "go to the police and tell them what you know".

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Ellis, of Smethwick, said he feared Marcus may have been involved in the shootout and pleaded for him to "come to his senses".

Marcia Shakespeare, mother of Latisha Shakespeare
One of the victim's mothers made an emotional appeal

He also revealed another son, Nathaniel, was a member of the rival Johnson Crew.

Mr Ellis went on to say he feared the rivalry between the two gangs could erupt into an "all-out turf war".

Police have revealed that some of those to come forward with information so far include gang members sickened by the killings outside a hairdressers salon.

Detectives now have a number of suspects in mind, and are pursuing leads relating to them.

Flurry of bullets

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

Charlene's twin sister, Sophie, and their cousin, 17-year-old Cheryl Shaw, were also hit in the flurry of bullets in Aston on Thursday.

Latisha's mother Marcia 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."

But police have made progress by identifying two more witnesses to add to a pool that already includes gang members.

As a result they already have a number of suspects and believe up to six people were involved in the killings.

A series of searches were carried out over the weekend as part of the murder inquiry.

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.

Police appeal

Detective Superintendent David Mirfield told the news conference in Birmingham that gang members had been affected by the killing.

"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.

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.

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.

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See also:

07 Jan 03 | Politics
07 Jan 03 | UK
04 Jan 03 | England
03 Jan 03 | England
06 Jan 03 | Politics
07 Jan 03 | UK
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