Police urge public to break silence over Halloween party shooting

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Officers investigating an “outrageous” drive-by shooting in which two teenagers were shot outside a children’s Halloween party have urged the public to break their silence over the incident.

West Midlands Police has re-appealed for information after the two boys, aged 14 and 15, were hit by the single round which went through one victim and into the other.

The shooting, involving what police believed to be a “powerful” firearm, happened at 8.15pm on Friday night in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.

The cousins were standing on the doorstep of a relative’s house where the party was being held, having knocked on the front door moments before.

The victims have both undergone surgery and are currently in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

Police have stressed that neither boy had ever had any previous contact with police, had “no affiliation to any sort of criminality”, and the attack appeared motiveless.

Both teenagers had been to a community centre earlier in the evening before heading to the Halloween party.

The bullet was fired from a vehicle which pulled up on the opposite side of the road, according to witnesses.

Officers are studying CCTV and have identified that the round may have been fired from a dark-coloured car containing several people.

They have urged anyone to come forward with information or CCTV or dash-cam footage, or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.

Police patrols have been stepped up and officers have been going door-to-door.

Detective Superintendent Maria Fox, of West Midlands Police, said despite a high-profile appeal over the weekend, police had not had a single call from the public more than two days on from the shooting.

She added that the incident had “crossed the line” and she would have also expected people within the criminal fraternity to have come forward anonymously with the names of those responsible.

Ms Fox said: “We’ve received very little information following our appeal yesterday.

“So as well as being an outrageous incident, actually the public response to it has not really met with the expectations that I had.”

She added: “My expectations were when they heard two children had been shot outside a family party in Handsworth that would create a reaction or response in the community, whether from the criminal community or law-abiding community.

“My expectation is that actually that sort of incident has crossed the line so I would have expected calls from every part of the community.”

Ms Fox said both boys had been “briefly” spoken to, but because of their conditions officers had yet to get a full account of their movements.

The bullet was recovered from the second victim and has been sent to a specialist firearms lab for fast-track analysis, which officers hope will shed light on the gun and exact calibre used.

Ms Fox added the gun used “must have been a powerful weapon to go through a whole body and into another.”

She said both victims should make a full recovery, although it was impossible to say whether there will be long-term implications.

The veteran detective, who has investigated shooting homicides in Manchester’s Moss Side, added it was “one of the most serious incidents I’ve experienced in my service”.

“Two children with no affiliation to any sort of criminality being shot at is a very serious and unacceptable position for us to be in,” she added.

As she vowed to leave “no stone unturned” to catch the culprits, Ms Fox also made a direct appeal to those in the community “who hold the key to solving this crime”.

She said: “My appeal to them is this could be your brother, it could be your son and I would appeal to you to put in that information in anonymously via Crimestoppers.”

Ms Fox said discussions were on-going about offering a reward to the public for information which leads to the conviction of the culprits.

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