The Archdiocese of Liverpool has said it was “shocked and saddened to hear the tragic news” of the fatal shooting of a nine year old Liverpool Catholic school pupil.
Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot in the chest as her mother struggled with the men at the door of her house in Kingsheath Avenue in the Knotty Ash area of Liverpool at about 22:00 BST on Monday.
The gunman “fired indiscriminately”, hitting Olivia, her mum Cheryl Korbel in the wrist and the man in the body.
Merseyside Police said the family had no connection to the two men who forced their way into the house.
“Olivia was a member of our school community and… our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, classmates, teachers and local community,” an Archdiocesan representative told BBC News.
Head teacher Rebecca Wilkinson said St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School in Huyton, where Olivia was a popular pupil, was in “shock and disbelief”.
She said Olivia was “kind-hearted”, had been “a little ray of sunshine” and was a “lively little soul [who was] very, very popular with all her peers”.
She said the staff are “devastated” and “can’t imagine how the children are going to feel when they come back to school and she’s no longer here”.
In a statement released earlier, she said Olivia was “kind-hearted and would go out of her way to help others”.
“She loved to perform and recently participated in the school production of The Wizard of Oz,” she said.
“Olivia will be missed greatly by staff and children at our school.”
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Constable Serena Kennedy of Merseyside Police appealed for anyone with information to come forward, adding that now was “not the time to remain tight-lipped”.
Merseyside Police said:
- A 35-year-old man ran into their home on Kingsheath Avenue, followed by a man armed with a handgun, after Ms Korbel opened the door to see what the noise was outside
- Olivia was fatally shot and Ms Korbel was shot in the wrist as she tried to shut the door
- The gunman then fired two more times through the gap in the door, hitting the 35-year-old in the upper body, before running away
- The injured man was then driven away in a black Audi, while Olivia and Ms Korbel were left behind
- The gunman was described as about 5ft 7in (170cm), of slim build, carrying a handgun and wearing a black padded jacket, a black balaclava and black gloves
Ms Kennedy said it was “a shocking and appalling attack which will reverberate around our communities”.
“We need to find all who are responsible for this,” she said.
“Not just the gunman, we need to find who supplied the weapon and who arranged this terrible incident.”
Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or call @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting log 1083 of 22 August.