Shot youths may be gang war victims

Four teenagers injured in a shooting may be the victims of gang warfare, police have said.

Three 17-year-olds and a 15-year-old were injured in the incident in the Akenside Street and Violet Road area of Bootle, Merseyside around 11.30pm on Saturday. All four are in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries, which are not thought to be life-threatening.

Detectives from Merseyside Police appealed for information and said they are treating the shooting as a targeted attack and believe it is linked to previous shootings in the Bootle area in recent days.

"It is understood that this incident is part of an ongoing feud between two rival gangs in the local area," a spokeswoman for the force said. "This type of incident and behaviour will not be tolerated and we can assure the community that Merseyside Police is committed to capturing those people responsible for these horrendous acts.

"Merseyside Police is appealing for information about the incident and the circumstances that led to the attack and would ask that people make contact with the investigation team. Information from the community is vital in gaining an understanding about what happened and we urge anyone who may have witnessed anything suspicious to come forward, anonymously through Crimestoppers if necessary."

Police believe the victims may have been to a music event at the Albert Dock in Liverpool earlier in the day and then gone on to a house party in Seaforth, north Liverpool, with a group of young females, who police are keen to trace.

Officers are particularly keen to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area or spotted a group or groups of young people in the area armed with sticks or similar looking weapons.

Emergency services were initially called to a report that a 17-year-old youth had been shot then a short time later the 15-year-old and two other 17-year-old youths sought medical attention for shot gun injuries believed to have been received in the same incident.

A cordon has been put in place at the scene of the shooting and police are making door to door inquires and trawling CCTV footage from the area. Neighbourhood patrols have also been stepped up, police said.

Chief Superintendent Julie Cooke, of Merseyside Police, added: "The force, along with the community, will not tolerate the use of guns and the fear those who use them spread. I urge anyone who has any information that can help in our investigation to come forward."