Murder probe as 16-year-old boy shot dead on Liverpool canal towpath
Police have appealed for information after 16-year-old Lewis Dunne was shot dead in Liverpool.
Lewis was found suffering from a serious gunshot wound to his back after being blasted on a canal towpath in Eldonian Village, in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool, shortly before 11.20pm last night.
He was taken to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, where he died a short time later.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Pilling of Merseyside Police said: "No mother or father expects to bury their child at the age of 16 years.
"It is difficult to imagine what Lewis' mother and father are going through at this moment in time.
"I believe someone, somewhere, knows who has done this, and would ask them to search their conscience and do the right thing.
"Your information could help us make significant progress in this inquiry."
Mr Pilling, describing the incident as a "tragic fatal shooting", said officers were called by paramedics after Lewis was found and given first aid by members of the public on the path, running alongside the Leeds Liverpool canal, around half a mile north of the city centre.
Lewis, who lived locally, though not in Eldonian Village, was rushed to hospital but doctors were unable to save his life.
Mr Pilling said the area has now been cordoned off with police underwater search teams in the canal water, high visibility patrols in the area and detectives now retrieving CCTV film of the surrounding area to trace the offender.
But he appealed for the public's help to come forward if they have information of help to police.
Mr Pilling continued: "There is no place for firearms. We need members of the public to come forward with information so we can keep our streets safe."
He urged anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who saw anything suspicious to come forward.
Mr Pilling would not be drawn on local reports a pre-arranged gang fight, widely known as a "straightener" in Liverpool, was behind the fatal shooting.
Nor would he give further information on whether Lewis was shot more than once or possibly fatally blasted in the back as he ran away from his attacker.
Mr Pilling said a post mortem is still yet to take place to establish the cause of death and give officers more information on how the youngster was killed.
Merseyside Police said they are keeping an "open mind" as to the motive and whether it was a targeted attack.
Police have swamped the area with teams of forensic investigators searching the stretch of the towpath running alongside the canal.
The canal is the boundary for the low-rise, recently built housing association estate, Eldonian Village, half-a-mile north of the city centre and bordering the dockland area.
Locals said while gangs of youths do congregate and smoke marijuana under bridges along the canal, there had not been any trouble as serious as this before.
One youth, who did not want to be named, said he knew Lewis, who he said was a student at a local college and described him as "quiet" and not known to be involved in trouble.
He said he was not aware the youngster was in a gang or involved in fighting and said Lewis was more interested in fishing on the canal, something he was regularly seen doing.
A Polish man, who did not want to give his name, who lives in one of the houses backing on to the canal bank close to the shooting said he was waiting for his wife to return home from work on Sunday night when he heard a shot being fired.
He said: "I heard something like a shot, I was thinking that's a firework. I heard some noise, I was sure it was a firework, there's been so many in the last few weeks. I didn't check anything, every night there's fireworks."
He said he did not realise there had been a shooting until he saw a police officer by his window and other officers with torches along the towpath.
He added: "I'm not surprised it has happened. There's lads always on the bench by the canal until late every night. They smoke the grass.
"It's the gangs, I'm not surprised. We felt safe until now."
Anyone with information is asked to call Merseyside Police on 0800 230 0600 or call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Police said a post-mortem examination found the teenager died from injuries caused by a single shotgun discharge to his back.
Detectives from the force's Matrix Serious and Organised Crime unit are investigating and "continuing to keep an open mind" as to the circumstances leading up to his death.