Police now believe the shooter in the lunchtime attack in Southport fired a shotgun from about a road’s width away – spraying pellets across a street packed with terrified Christmas shoppers.
Liverpool Echo It’s now known that a bus driver who was stood in the street waiting to change vehicles also suffered minor injuries after being hit by one of those stray pellets.
Tonight shocked locals are saying that it could have been much, much worse especially with so many children stood nearby at the time.
And the gunman is still at large and the weapon yet to be recovered.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, shops in and around the town’s Eastbank Street quickly closed their doors and bystanders scattered as armed police descended on the scene.
One witness told how he saw the shooter put the gun back into his jacket and ride away from the scene on a bicycle, the Liverpool Echo reports .
Another witness said: I walked out of Primark and the second I stepped outside I heard it, it was outside Thorntons. Scary stuff, I just rushed the kids away and back home, feel sick.
The guy who got shot was sitting up and conscious so fingers crossed he’s okay.
One woman who came to Southport town to do her Christmas shopping today called the incident disgraceful.
The Liverpool Echo reports that it is the third shooting in 18 hours in Merseyside – including Toxeth, Dingle and Southport.
MirrorOnline reported earlier how at around 12.30pm armed police rushed to the scene in Southport and found the wounded man in his 20s and a bus driver who was also injured.
They described hearing a massive bang before seeing the injured man on the floor and people running, the Liverpool Echo reports.
An employee at Harpers Chip Shop said: The road is cordoned off. There has been a shooting. I am not sure where it is exactly but I heard a massive bang. I thought someone’s tyres had blown out.
Then I saw someone running down the street, I have never seen someone run so quickly. It is horrendous. We are having to close now.
A police statement said: We can confirm that emergency services are in attendance after reports of a shooting in the Southport area today.
A bus driver was also found with a minor injury and will be taken to hospital.
Enquiries are ongoing at the scene to establish the exact circumstances and a road closure is currently in place on Eastbank Street from Kings Street to Lord Street.
And he added the hundreds of witnesses and an extensive town centre CCTV network should play a significant role in helping officers track down the gunman.
He told the ECHO: “Thousands of people visit town centres like Southport at this time of the year, especially that area near a pedestrianised shopping location.
There were hundreds of people there at the time. We have got a lot of witnesses who have come forward to provide us with statements.
The offender needs to know that they have been seen by lots of people and have been caught on CCTV. We are collecting that information and we will identify him and we will apprehend him.
Witnesses and onlookers told the ECHO how the shocking events unfolded this afternoon.