Officers investigating the apparently motiveless murder of an 11-year-old boy in Britain have released two teenagers on police bail. Rhys Jones was gunned down as he returned home from football training – he is the seventh child victim of gun crime in the UK this year. He was killed a few streets away from his Liverpool home. The shooting has sent shock waves throughout the country, but nowhere more so than among his friends and neighbours. “Devastated, devastated,” said one woman. “Put it this way, I wouldn’t go out of a night because over at those shops it’s just dozens and dozens of children, big boys”. Another told reporters she felt “shock, complete shock and sympathy for how the parents must be feeling”.
“For your child to go out and play football on a summer’s evening and be shot dead. It’s unbelievable,” she added. Rhys’s football friends described a friendly boy. “You couldn’t say a bad word about him. Every morning he had a smile. If anyone ever squared up to him he would just walk away,” said one. “He was a great mate and we’re all going to miss him,” added another. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described Rhys’s murder as a “heinous crime” and pledged to tackle increasing gang violence and gun culture in Britain’s cities. Rhys’s friends insist he had nothing to do with any gangs, he was just a football-crazy kid. He died cradled in his mother’s arms.