Merseyside police detectives say it is a “miracle” the 15-year-old girl shot as she waited to catch a bus on her way home from school in Toxteth has survived.
She was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to her upper body in Upper Warwick Street, at around 5.10pm on Tuesday.
A 21-year-old man from Toxteth was quickly arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and a second man, aged 27, also from Toxteth, was arrested on Wednesday night on the same charge.
The girl is in a serious but stable condition in hospital.
Police believe a number of shots were fired by “one or more” people and are still looking for a number of suspects riding up to four bikes, possibly electric.
All the suspects were wearing dark clothing and face masks or balaclavas and fled towards the nearby North Hill Street area.
A 60-year-old man from Toxteth who had earlier been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has now been released under investigation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Cameen, described the attack on the schoolgirl as “callous and cowardly”.
He said: “It is an absolute miracle, and credit to the NHS, that this young woman has survived.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson described the incident as “alarming and upsetting” while Merseyside police commissioner Emily Spurrell said it was deeply shocking”.
Toxteth investgation ongoing
Crime scene investigators have carried out forensic examinations at the scene, house-to-house inquiries have been made and detectives are continuing to check CCTV in a bid to establish the circumstances of the shooting.
DCS Cameen added: “The actions of those people responsible for this attack ... are utterly appalling and shocking, even with 29 years’ service.
“It shows a total disregard and contempt that they have for the decent, honest, law-abiding people who live, work in and visit this city.”
He said the shooting took place on a major road, currently with roadworks, and there would have been stationary traffic at the time of the rush-hour attack.
DCS Cameen appealed for anyone with dashcam footage or anyone who may seen something suspicious in the area or seen the people on bikes to come forward.
How to contact police
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 anonymously quoting log 647 of 1st March.