Criminals in Liverpool have been urged to give up the gunman who killed a nine-year-old girl as he chased his intended target into her home.
Olivia Pratt-Korbel died on Monday night when a 35-year-old man, unknown to the family, ran into her terraced house in Kingsheath Avenue, Dovecot, as he tried to get away from a gunman.
Her mother Cheryl Korbel, 46, was shot in the wrist as she tried to close the door on the gunman while Olivia stood behind her.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “I want to take the opportunity to appeal to members of the criminal fraternity and ask them to examine their consciences as they will have vital information that can help us.
“The killing of a nine-year-old child is an absolute tragedy and crosses every single boundary, and I would urge them to do the right thing, so we can put this person behind bars.”
She added: “I know that the murder of Olivia has rocked our communities, who are quite rightly upset and outraged that such an abhorrent crime has occurred here on the streets of Merseyside.
“The people of Liverpool and Merseyside are known for their compassion and pulling together in times of crisis, and I know that in our communities, people are wanting to help the family in any way possible.
“This is not the time for anyone who knows who’s responsible for this shooting to remain tight-lipped.
“It is time for our communities to come together with us and make Merseyside a place where the use of guns on our streets is totally unacceptable, and those who use them are held to account.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Kameen said Olivia had been at home with her two older siblings and mother when Ms Korbel opened the door after hearing gunshots fired outside.
He said a figure, wearing a black padded jacket, a black balaclava with a peak, dark trousers and black gloves, fired shots at two men walking along Kingsheath Avenue, causing them to run away.
One of the men ran towards the open door of Olivia’s home and forced his way in.
Mr Kameen said: “As that was taking place the person with the gun has followed the male to this property.
“That person has also tried to force entry to the property and has managed, it would appear, to put their hand through the open door as Cheryl continued to try and close it.
“A shot has been fired which we believe has hit Cheryl, injuring her and then fatally wounding Olivia. Olivia at that time, we believe, was stood directly behind Cheryl.”
Olivia was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital by officers but later died.
The man who had entered the family home suffered gunshot wounds to his upper body and, as Olivia lay dying, was picked up and taken to hospital by friends driving a dark-coloured Audi.
That car has since been seized by police.
Olivia went to St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, where she was thought of as a kind-hearted, helpful and happy little girl, according to her headteacher Rebecca Wilkinson.
She said: “Olivia was a much-loved member of our school. She had a beautiful smile, a lovely sense of humour and a bubbly personality.
“She was kind-hearted and would go out of her way to help others.”
The killing happened exactly 15 years after 11-year-old Rhys Jones was fatally shot in Croxteth, Liverpool.