British police were looking yesterday for a third teenager in connection with the shooting of an 11-year-old boy in Liverpool after questioning two others in a murder that has shocked the nation.
Meanwhile, the parents of Rhys Jones spoke on Thursday evening of the moment when they found out their son had been killed, appealing to the public for help in finding the boy's killer.
Rhys was shot by a hooded youth riding a BMX bicycle, Merseyside Police have said, while playing soccer in a pub car park.
Two youths, aged 18 and 14, were questioned by police on Thursday and later released on bail, with detectives still looking for a white male, aged 13 to 15, wearing dark clothes and riding a black bicycle.
`pool of blood'
The boy's mother, Melanie, told reporters of how she arrived at the site of the shooting before ambulances were able to make it, but was unable to get any response from her son: "He was just lying there in a pool of blood."
"They put him in an ambulance. They tried for an hour and a half to resuscitate him but his little body could not take it, he had just lost too much blood," she said.
Her husband Stephen described the ordeal as "just horrific, your worst nightmare."
Rhys's death sparked an outpouring of grief in the northwestern city, with local soccer side Everton's Australian international midfielder Tim Cahill speaking of the shock and sadness he felt when he heard of the boy's death.
"It's unthinkable that a young kid playing football can end up being killed," Cahill said of Rhys, an Everton supporter, to club Web site www.evertonfc.com.
"My heart, prayers and sympathy go out to the family. I've got young children of my own and I can't begin to imagine just how Rhys's family are feeling right now," he said.
The shooting in Liverpool is the latest in a series of gun-related murders in Britain, where gun crime remains relatively rare. At least six teenagers were killed in shootings in London since February, while the northern city of Manchester has also seen a string of gun attacks.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who has said in the past that he will be tough on law and order, condemned the shooting as "a heinous crime that has shocked the whole of the country."
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has just outlined plans to sign up thousands of families to anti-social behavior contracts -- voluntary agreements aimed at tackling low-level crime -- in an effort to nip violence in the bud.
While gun crime represents less than 0.5 percent of all recorded offenses in Britain, official figures show that the number of crimes involving firearms has been increasing since 1997.