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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Liverpool player shot at nightclub
Jon Otsemobor
Jon Otsemobor was drinking with friends when he was shot
A young member of the Liverpool football squad is recovering after he and two other men were shot and injured at a nightclub in the city.

Jon Otsemobor was hit in the buttocks by a gunman armed with a small calibre pistol in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Detectives believe the attack, the fourth high profile shooting in Britain in five days, may have been linked to an argument earlier in the evening.

It happened despite a strong police presence in Liverpool city centre.

Gang violence - which is not thought to be related to Otsemobor's shooting - has been blamed for car and nail bomb attacks in the city on consecutive weekends.

Otsemobor, who has made one first team appearance for Liverpool, was with two other men in the Wonderbar in Slater Street when the gunman opened fire at about 0130 BST.

'Terrifying attack'

The 20-year-old, from the Speke area of the city, was not seriously injured.

Otsemobor's mother, speaking from the family home on Monday, said the shooting was terrifying.

She added: "He doesn't even go out that much and doesn't drink. We can't believe it happened.

"He'd only gone out to celebrate the birth of a friend's baby.

"It's terrible, he just wants to put it all behind him and get on with his life."

She said her son was back training with the club.

An 18-year-old man who was with the player was also hit in the hand.

A 24-year-old man who had also been part of the group was shot in the leg about 20 minutes later, 100 metres away.

THE SCALE OF GUN CRIME
97 fatalities in 2001-2
Firearms used in 9,974 recorded offences in 2001-2
35% higher than the previous year
Handgun use up by 46%
Source: Home Office

All three men were taken to the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

The man with leg injuries remained in hospital but, Otsemobor and the other victim were released following treatment.

Recent weeks have seen a feud between rival Liverpool gangs escalate, prompting the police to put extra officers on patrol.

The car bomb exploded on 20 September outside Club 051 and a nail bomb, which failed to go off, was thrown into the Dickie Lewis bar on 27 September.

The spokeswoman said: "This latest incident has to be put in context.

"Between 80,000 and 100,000 people come out in Liverpool and more than 90% of them would have no idea anything had happened."

Drive-by shooting

The Liverpool shootings follow a number of headline-grabbing attacks over the past week, which prompted concern about the level of gun crime in the UK.

In Hertfordshire police have now recovered a second vehicle thought to have been used in a drive-by shooting which killed 32-year-old convicted criminal David King on Friday.

On the same day three men were wounded in a shotgun attack in Reading.

And on Tuesday, 64-year-old jeweller Marian Bates was shot dead by a robber during a raid on her shop in Arnold, Nottingham.


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