'Unthinkable it's happened again': Liverpool's shock at child shooting 15 years after Rhys Jones tragedy
Liverpool woke up in shock on Tuesday to the news of another fatal shooting in the city involving a child, exactly 15 years after the murder of Rhys Jones.
On Monday evening, schoolgirl Olivia Pratt-Korbel, aged nine, was shot at a house in Kingsheath Avenue, Knotty Ash, and later died in hospital.
Police said an unknown gunman entered the home and fired shots, shooting Olivia in the chest. Two other people, a man and a woman, were also shot and taken to hospital for treatment.
On the same date, 22 August, in 2007, 11-year-old Rhys was shot on his way home from football practice in Croxteth, Liverpool. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.
Watch: Murder investigation begins after girl, 9, shot dead in Liverpool
His death shocked the country. In 2008, Sean Mercer, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, was found guilty of Rhys's murder and sentenced to life in prison to serve a minimum of 22 years.
The mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, tweeted on Tuesday: "Fifteen years to the day that Rhys Jones was murdered, another innocent child of our city becomes a victim to gun crime.
"Has nothing been learned? Enough is enough.
"This is an appalling act of evil. If you know something, you must come forward. Guns have no place in our communities."
Assistant mayor of Liverpool, Harry Doyle, who was the same age as Rhys, said on Tuesday it was “unthinkable” that another child had been killed on the anniversary of his 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.
Read more: Girl, 9, dies after being shot in house in Liverpool as 'gunman on the run'
“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 fire 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 back.
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.”
Ian Byrne, Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby, told BBC Breakfast: "We're struggling to process what we've heard overnight. It's absolutely devastating that a wholly innocent nine-year-old girl has been murdered and we're all struggling to process it as a community."
Watch: Liverpool MP calls for end to 'mindless violence' after girl, 9, shot dead