Liverpool reacts to devastating murder of 9-year old girl in Knotty Ash on 15th anniversary of Rhys Jones
2 years ago
Harry Doyle, Assistant Mayor of Liverpool said it was ‘unthinkable’ another child had been killed on the anniversary of Rhys’s death.
Fifteen years after the death of schoolboy Rhys Jones, another child has been killed by gun violence in Liverpool.
Eleven-year-old Rhys was shot by 16-year-old Sean Mercer on his way home from football practice in Croxteth, Liverpool, on August 22 2007.
On the 15th anniversary of his death, within miles of the pub car park where Rhys was fatally injured, a nine-year-old girl died after a shooting at a home on Kingsheath Avenue.
Assistant mayor of Liverpool Harry Doyle, who was the same age as Rhys, said it was “unthinkable” that another child had been killed on the anniversary of Rhys’s murder.
He said: “I remember the atmosphere in the city, and not just the city actually, nationwide, around the shooting of Rhys Jones was just absolutely awful.
“I remember my family being equally – I look at families this morning on the doorsteps – as worried and concerned and devastated.
“My mum wouldn’t let me walk to school around that time. It is unthinkable and it’s unbelievable that this has happened again 15 years on.
“We thought we’d rid ourselves of this violence and this week we’ve seen it return.”
Everton fan Rhys was caught in the crossfire of a turf war between Liverpool street gangs, the Croxteth Crew and the Strand Gang from Norris Green.
Mercer, who was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for the killing, blasted three bullets across a pub car park after targeting gang rivals who had strayed on to his turf.
Rhys was caught in the line of fire and shot in the neck. He died in his mother’s arms a short time later.
Merseyside Police said the latest fatality, about three miles from Croxteth, happened when a gunman fired shots inside a property.
The nine-year-old girl suffered a gunshot injury to the chest and was taken to hospital in a critical condition but later died.
A man suffered gunshot wounds to his body and a woman suffered a gunshot injury to her hand during the incident inside the house, police said.
Paula Barker, MP for Wavertree, told BBC Breakfast: “It is obviously devastating and it comes 15 years to the day after Rhys Jones was senselessly murdered on the streets of our city as well. It is completely unacceptable and this mindless violence simply has to stop.
“I think, as a city, we come together in adversity and I know people in Liverpool will be absolutely horrified this morning.”
Ms Barker added that it took “so many years” to get justice for Rhys and urged anyone with information to contact Merseyside Police.
“We cannot allow that to happen to the family of this little girl,” she said.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said people needed to come forward to catch the “coward”.
He said: “It’s really disgusting and it will not be tolerated around here.
“It’s just been the anniversary of Rhys Jones’s death.
“I believe because a child was involved people will name the culprit and he deserves to be named because he is a coward.”