(Associated Press) — A Christmas Eve shooting at a pub in northwest England killed a young woman and wounded three men, police said Sunday.
The Merseyside Police force said it was investigating the 11:50 p.m. Saturday shooting at the Lighthouse pub in the town of Wallasey as a murder case. Police have not detained any suspects.
“This investigation is in the very early stages, and we understand that this is a truly shocking and devastating incident that has happened just before Christmas Day in a busy venue full of young people,” Detective Superintendent David McCaughrean said.
The woman died at a hospital “with an injury consistent with a gunshot wound,” the police force said in a statement. Along with the three men wounded, several people were injured, according to the statement.
Investigators were seeking witnesses as well as cellphone video and closed circuit television footage to figure out what happened, McCaughrean said.
“We believe that the gunman left the pub car park in a dark colored vehicle, possibly a dark colored Mercedes shortly after the shooting, and we are keen to hear from anyone who saw this to contact us immediately,” he said.
The minister of a nearby church told Britain’s Press Association news agency that the shooting will come as a shock to local residents because of where the pub is located.
“We’ve got a lot of young people, families in that area. The Lighthouse is central in that community,” Jeffrey Hughes, minister of the United Reformed Church, said.
Hughes said his church’s Christmas morning service would not be “as much a celebration as it was going to be” because of the upsetting news.
The violence “shows us that even though we celebrate Christmas, we’re still very far from those ideals (of peace) as a society,” he told PA.
Gun violence is comparatively rare in Britain, where most police officers do not carry guns.
A fatal shooting at a pub in eastern England on Friday night resulted in the arrest of a 44-year-old man, the Essex Police force said.
The suspect was charged with murder, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and possession of a bladed article in a public place following the death of another man at the Lamb and Lion pub in Westcliff-on-Sea, police said.