Police believe the woman was probably not the intended target in the shooting. Ian Woods has the latest
A murder investigation has been launched after a woman died and multiple people were injured in a shooting incident at a pub in Wallasey, Merseyside Police said.
Merseyside Police said officers were called to the Lighthouse Inn in Wallasey Village, near Liverpool, around 11.50pm on Saturday following reports of gunshots.
A young woman was taken to hospital with an injury consistent with a gunshot wound and later died, police said.
Four men were hurt in the incident, with one in a critical condition and the other three not believed to have life-threatening injuries.
Detective Superintendent David McCaughrean said: “This investigation is in the very early stages and we understand that this is a truly shocking and devastating incident that has happened just before Christmas Day in a busy venue full of young people.
“We have a number of officers at Wallasey Village who are carrying out extensive enquiries to understand exactly what has taken place and take immediate action.
“A woman has tragically lost her life at Christmas whilst several people are being treated in hospital and our thoughts and condolences are with the victim’s family.
“I would ask anyone who was in the Lighthouse in Wallasey Village last night who witnessed the incident or has mobile or CCTV footage of what happened to contact us as a matter of urgency as they may have information which is vital to our investigation.
“We believe that the gunman left the pub car park in a dark coloured vehicle – possibly a dark coloured Mercedes shortly after the shooting and we are keen to hear from anyone who saw this to contact us immediately.”
A spokesperson for the Lighthouse pub said the shooting was “a tragedy beyond any words”.
In a statement, they added: “All our thoughts are with the friends and family of our customers and in particular our hearts go out to the family of our customer who has lost her life.
“We are completely shocked by this and were expecting to host a number of people for Christmas Day meals but sadly this is no longer possible.
“We are contacting everyone who had a booking with us to offer a full refund as well as offering them a replacement Christmas meal in the New Year, free of charge.
“We have provided the police with CCTV footage and our priority is supporting everyone who has been impacted.”
A neighbour who heard shots said she assumed they were celebratory Christmas fireworks.
Jenny Hough, 77, said: “I heard the shots… I thought it was a firework actually, because it was nearly midnight.
“I just thought it was people celebrating midnight on Christmas Day.”
On waking to the news of a fatality and multiple injuries, Ms Hough said: “I couldn’t believe it. When I looked outside I thought ‘Oh crikey’. It’s a complete shock.
“My sister’s garden had been broken into. We suspect it was people trying to get out of the pub and trying to climb over the wall and into her garden to get out.”
Wallasey MP Dame Angela Eagle said the incident was “heartbreaking” and appealed for anyone with information to contact police.
She tweeted: “This is heartbreaking news – My thoughts are with the family of the woman who has died & those who are injured. Anyone with any information please tell the police.”
Wirral council leader Janette Williamson said the shooting was “nothing less than despicable”.
The pub is “central” to the local community, the minister at a nearby church said.
Jeffrey Hughes, minister of the United Reformed Church in Wallasey Village, said news of the fatal shooting will have come as a shock to people in the area.
He said: “Wallasey Village is a fairly lively area, it’s a nice part of Wallasey, its a nice part of the north end of the Wirral.
“We’ve got a lot of young people, families in that area. The Lighthouse is central in that community.
“It’s a shock. When we first heard the news this morning that there’d been a shooting in Wallasey, Wallasey Village is the last place you would think of.”
He said trying to find words of hope in “such a terrible situation” is challenging and acknowledged that the Christmas morning service would now not be “as much a celebration as it was going to be”.
He said such violence “shows us that even though we celebrate Christmas, we’re still very far from those ideals (of peace) as a society”.
Anyone with information is asked to direct message @MerPolCC or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1044 of Saturday 24 December.
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