A man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel who was shot dead in her home in Liverpool.
The schoolgirl was shot on Monday night by a gunman who chased his intended target into the family home in Dovecot, also injuring her mother Cheryl, 46.
Merseyside Police said a 36-year-old man, from the Huyton area, had been arrested on suspicion of Olivia’s murder and two counts of attempted murder after an operation involving armed officers on Thursday night.
He is currently in custody being questioned by detectives.
Armed police descended on a block of flats in Huyton on Thursday night in a raid.
One neighbour said: “We saw armed police, all in black with balaclavas on and machine guns.
“They closed the road off.
“They were here at about 10.30pm for about an hour and anyone who came out of their house they would shout at to go in.
“I think it was coming to an end when I saw them becase I saw them putting the battering ram back in the car.”
On Friday afternoon a police Matrix van pulled up in the car park of the flats and five officers were seen entering the top floor flat.
One officer took a ladder in to the property.
Police then left carrying a clear plastic bag which appeared to contain other bags, boxes and material.
Police would not confirm if the activity was linked to the investigation into Olivia’s murder.
Olivia’s family have paid tribute to her, describing her as a “unique, chatty, nosey little girl who broke the mould when she was born”.
They added: “Although her life was short, her personality certainly wasn’t and she lived it to the most she could, and would blow people away with her wit and kindness.”
The family have urged people to “do the right thing”, and said: “If anyone knows anything, now is the time to speak up. It is not about being a ‘snitch’ or a ‘grass’, it is about finding out who took our baby away from us.”
Convicted burglar Joseph Nee, 35, from the Dovecot area of Liverpool, has been named as the intended target of the shooting.
As Olivia lay dying, he was picked up by friends in a black Audi Q3 and taken to hospital.
A message on a box of flowers left among tributes at the scene read: “So sorry for your loss of beautiful Olivia. Rest in peace, thinking of all family. Nee family.”
Olivia’s death came 15 years after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was shot dead on his way home from football practice in Croxteth, Liverpool.
On Friday morning, former Liverpool FC player Ian Rush and ex-Everton player Ian Snodin added floral wreaths to the other flowers, balloons and teddies left in Olivia’s memory at the police cordon.
On the flowers from Everton, a message read: “RIP Olivia. No words will lessen the pain or explain such a tragedy.
“Our city stands united.
“Forever in our thoughts.”
A card on the tribute from Liverpool said: “Rest in peace, Olivia, with deepest sympathy from all of us at Liverpool Football Club. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.”
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said the shooting was a “tragedy”.
He added: “This is our city. Usually we like to say ‘this is LFC city’ or ‘Everton city’, but in these moments we have to realise it’s our city.
“Whatever we can do together, we have to do it. I don’t like the moments that it happens, but I like the fact that we are then united and support with all we have.”