Man is arrested after shooter opened fire outside Showcase cinema packed with families watching a movie

Saturday, January 6, 2024
 – A 49-year-old man has been arrested after a gunman opened fire outside a packed Liverpool cinema filled with families watching the new Wonka film.

Merseyside Police confirmed the arrest after a major incident was declared following reports of shots being fired at three separate locations on Wednesday night. No-one was injured in any of the incidents.

The man from Fazakerley was taken into custody by Armed Response Officers shortly before 5 am.

The man, who was arrested on suspicion of possession of a Section 1 firearm with intent to endanger life and robbery at 4.46am, remains at a police station in Merseyside.

When officers attended the property in Fazakerley, the man became 'aggressive and a Taser was deployed', a police spokesperson said.

Officers were first called to newsagents in Norris Green, Liverpool at 8.30pm last night to reports that a man had entered the shop and threatened the store assistant.

He is said to have demanded cash before firing a gun and leaving the store empty-handed. The staff member was unharmed but left 'extremely distressed' by the incident.

Families inside the cinema were plunged into lockdown as armed police were scrambled to the scene, before later being evacuated.

Around 90 minutes later, gunshots were heard at a property on Malpas Road, police said. No-one was injured in any of the incidents.

Witness Craig Moorhead, 35, from Garston, had been watching Wonka with his daughter and her friend, both 14, when shots were reportedly fired at the cinema.

Mr Moorhead heard police at the back of the cinema as the film ended, and when he went into the foyer discovered the building had been locked down, the Echo reports.

After being kept in the cinema for 45 minutes, police escorted small groups to their cars after getting past a line of armed police, he said.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenn Wilson, said: 'I can report that a 49-year-old man has been arrested following three firearms discharges in the Croxteth and Norris Green areas last night.

'Thankfully incidents like this, involving a single offender in three separate shootings in close proximity and quick succession, are extremely rare and this is the first time we have had to deal with an incident of this nature on the streets of Merseyside.

'The shocking and distressing impact these incidents will have had on the shop assistant, the staff at the Showcase Cinema and those filmgoers who found themselves in a lockdown situation in the complex after shots were fired outside the cinema and the residents of Malpas Road cannot be underestimated.

'Officers were on the ground immediately following the first incident and were able to respond swiftly to the subsequent discharges, and a male was identified, located and arrested on suspicion of all three discharges within 13 hours.'

She added that high visibility patrols will remain in the area throughout the day, continuing: 'Firearms have no place on our streets and we are committed to arresting those involved in gun crime and taking firearms off our streets.

'I would appeal to anyone who has information about those involved in gun crime, or who knows were weapons are being stored to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 so we can further reduce the harm caused by these weapons in our communities.'

A spokesperson for Showcase Cinemas said: 'We are aware of an incident at our cinema and surrounding area in Liverpool.

'The safety and welfare of our staff and customers is always our number one priority and we can confirm no one was injured.

'We would like to thank our team members and the local police for their swift responses to this active investigation.'

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