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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Reaction to Liverpool killing
Rhys Jones, 11, has died after being shot in the neck in the Croxteth area of Liverpool outside a pub.

Here is the national and local reaction to the shooting, thought to have been carried out by a teenager on a BMX bicycle.

PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

Our deepest sympathies go to the family of Rhys Jones, who was tragically murdered. We cannot begin to understand the sadness, sense of loss, grief and shock, that is being felt by family, friends and neighbours.

It is a heinous crime that has shocked the whole of the country. I urge anyone who has any knowledge of this to co-operate with the police.

But make no mistake about this, the people responsible for this will be tracked down, arrested and punished.

CONSERVATIVE LEADER DAVID CAMERON

It's an absolutely shocking murder.

Obviously, what matters most of all is that we catch and convict the culprits.

Everyone will be thinking about the family of that young boy.

We do have a situation now where we have had a spate of children killing children and we have got to ask, what's going wrong in the country?

HOME SECRETARY JACQUI SMITH

I am shocked and saddened to hear about this tragic shooting. My thoughts are with the victim's family and friends.

When people hear about this, their hearts will go out to the family of that little boy and to the local community.

I know, having spoken to the chief constable of Merseyside Police, they're absolutely focused on catching the person responsible for this and have said very clearly that they need to work with the community to do that.

They think there will be people who know who this is and their first priority is to make sure that they catch that person.

CRIME AND YOUTH JUSTICE MINISTER BEVERLEY HUGHES

This was a cold-blooded murder of a young boy.

By any standard it is horrific and I offer my deepest sympathies to members of Rhys' family, his friends and the community of Croxteth.

This is not a day for statistics but violent crime and gun crime are actually going down.

This is an issue for the police, local authorities, and the government. It is also an issue for communities and parents.

How can it be that a boy can cycle round with a gun and kill another boy?

ELAINE SPENCER, HEADTEACHER AT BROAD SQUARE PRIMARY SCHOOL, CROXTETH

The whole school is in a deep state of shock at this terrible tragedy. I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to Rhys's family and friends for their loss.

Rhys was a really lovely boy who was extremely popular with everyone who knew him. He was friendly, outgoing and mad about football.

He was also very bright, and had just done very well in his SATs. He had a wonderful future ahead of him and it is absolutely terrible that it seems his life has been cut short because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We are planning to open a book of condolence so that everyone can share their thoughts about Rhys and let his family know he will always be in our thoughts and prayers.

We will also be offering counselling and support to all pupils who need it when they return to school in September.

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL

I share the prime minister's shock and also his expressions of sympathy to the family and friends of this young person.

Every time one of these incidents occur, you cannot help but think about the terrible waste of a young life and all of the potential that young life might have had.


BISHOP OF LIVERPOOL, RIGHT REVEREND JAMES JONES

What has to happen is that we can't just leave it to the police - you've got to have local people in their communities exercising control, you know, curbing people's behaviour and telling people.

But, of course, people are afraid to do that if they're a solo voice because they're afraid that people might turn on them.

And so people have got to come together in their community groups.

They have to come together in lots of groups - housing associations and churches - where people can voice together their determination that they will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.

The tide of lawlessness can turn only when people come forward.

UNNAMED NEIGHBOUR

I am staggered - he was just a lovely kid, always out playing football and in an Everton shirt.

He came from a well-respected, loving family.

He was always kicking a ball.

EVERTON FC SPOKESMAN

We send our condolences from everybody - the boardroom, senior management, staff and all the players.

Our hearts go out to Rhys's family and friends.

It is just another tragedy and we wonder how many more youngsters we have to lose.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends at this dreadful time.

PAULA OGUNGBORO, MOTHERS AGAINST GUNS, LIVERPOOL

It's the drugs that are being allowed into this country and the guns.

The government needs to step up and do something about this.

No-one knows whether you're going to get that knock on your door to say... your child has been murdered.

Your child could be in the wrong place at the wrong time and no mother ever thinks it's going to be her.

GAYNOR BELL, SUPPORT AFTER MURDER AND MANSLAUGHTER GROUP, MERSEYSIDE

It has got to stop and we have got to do more to stop it.

I'm dealing with people every day - mothers who have had their children killed in this manner, either by guns or knives or in other ways.

People just think 'it's not going to happen to me'; probably this mother tonight, her son's gone to football, she's thought 'he's perfectly safe' and never thought in a million years that her son was going to be dead.

CROXTETH COUNCILLOR ROSE BAILEY

Shockwaves have gone right through the community...

People are really concerned about this. Obviously we have to wait for the police investigation but we have got to get some action and see what on earth has happened.

Of course people are going to be afraid but it is very unusual, it is not a normal thing.

I have lived in Croxteth for 26 years now and I have never, ever been afraid to walk the streets.

We've never seen this kind of thing happen before, we've had young kids by the shops and in the pub area causing a noise, but certainly nothing as serious as this.

NORMAN BRENNAN, VICTIMS OF CRIME TRUST

The shooting of an 11-year-old boy in Liverpool surely has pushed Britain to a turning point or to the point of no return.

The public, police, government and judiciary all blame each other for the problems we are all responsible for.

We have now got to wake up and work together to take back the cities, towns and villages that are controlled by those who carry and use guns and knives or act criminally or anti-socially or these senseless child murders will become an unacceptable norm on the streets of Britain.

UNNAMED CROXTETH RESIDENT

Matrix [Merseyside Police's gun crime unit] are always here raiding houses and making seizures.

But no matter how many times they come they can't seem to keep track of all the guns.

There just seems to be more and more incidents every year.

The kids pass the guns around each other as if they were football collector cards.

There is no mystique about guns, there's no fear, they are just a status symbol.

And now it seems anyone who wants one can get hold of one.

I just think some poor family will never recover from what's happened.






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