POLICE warned of “another Rhys Jones” in the weeks before Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead.
A spate of reckless drive-by shootings by gunmen on electric scooters in Liverpool had detectives worried another innocent child could be caught in the crossfire.
It came 15 years after Rhys, 11, was shot as he walked home from football training.
READ MORE Family beg Olivia Pratt-Korbel's killer to 'do the right thing' in heartbreaking tribute
Nine-year-old Olivia was fatally shot in the chest by a gunman who barged into her home while chasing two men.
A Merseyside Police source told the Daily Star: “There’s been an alarming rise of shootings where young men, often on e-scooters, have
been firing guns with reckless abandon.
“In the last few months there have been several meetings at the top level where the topic of discussion was preventing another Rhys Jones, so ready and willing are these criminals to use guns in public places.
“Tragically, it was only a matter of time.”
In March, a masked gang on e-scooters fired several shots at a 15-year-old schoolgirl waiting for a bus in Toxteth.
The girl, who police believe was an innocent bystander, suffered “devastating injuries”.
An alleged attacker, 21, was later arrested after turning up at a hospital with a gunshot wound to his hand.
In May, a gunman on an e-scooter sprayed a house with bullets as people sat inside.
Liverpool shooting: Man shot in gun attack that killed nine-year-old arrested
And just weeks ago, 22-year-old Sam Rimmer was walking with friends down a cul-de-sac in nearby Dingle when he was shot in the chest by gunmen who opened fire before fleeing on electric bikes. He later died in hospital.
Last Sunday, 28-year-old council worker Ashley Dale was fatally shot in the back garden of her home in Old Swan. The attack was believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
The balaclava-clad killer of Olivia was allegedly firing in the street in Knotty Ash when the girl’s mum Cheryl opened her door to see what the
The killer’s target, who has been named as convicted burglar Joseph Nee, 35, rushed inside followed by the gunman.
Cheryl was hit in the wrist as he pulled the trigger, and Olivia was shot in the chest.
Our police source said people are buying deactivated guns on the black market and converting them to fire live rounds.
He said of Olivia’s death: “This senseless murder was our worst fears realised.
“The top brass will tell you the number of shootings has fallen, but don’t let the pandemic mask what has been a problem for years. A problem that’s getting bigger.”
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