Manhunt for gunman who walked into children's nursery in Liverpool
Police are hunting a man who walked into a children's nursery armed with a gun.
The suspect entered the Child's Play Nursery in Liverpool at around 8.10am on Wednesday, carrying what is believed to have been a firearm.
He was looking for another man, police said, who is not a staff member at the nursery, who was at the centre in Heathfield Road, Wavertree, as parents dropped their children off for the day.
The suspect left shortly afterwards with a second suspect on a motorbike.
Officers were called and no-one was injured during the incident, which police have described as "targeted".
A police cordon remained in place at the nursery to offer reassurance to pupils and parents, and crime scene investigators were carrying out forensic examinations at the scene.
House-to-house inquiries were being carried out in the area and high-visibility patrols have been stepped up to reassure the public.
Detective Chief Inspector John Webster, from Merseyside Police, said: "The investigation is in its very early stages and we are keeping an open mind as to why this has happened, but we believe it was targeted and that the men were looking for a man who was in the nursery at the time who is not a member of staff.
"I'm sure the vast majority of people in the community will be appalled to find that two men have walked into a nursery reportedly carrying a firearm when children and their parents were arriving at the start of the day.
"We look to the community to help us by providing information to bring those responsible to justice.
"We need to identify the people responsible and put them before the courts before they cause any further harm in our communities.
"This is another reminder that criminals involved in gun crime have no regard for anyone else and I would urge the local community to come together to help us take a stand against the use of firearms and violence on our streets and report anything they saw or heard to us so we can take action.
"If anyone witnessed the men before or after the incident, or saw anything suspicious that could help us investigate this incident, then please contact our gun crime hotline on 0800 230 0600 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
The nursery, operating since 1988, has 123 children on its roll, aged from three months to five years, with 28 staff members, according to its latest Ofsted report.
No one at the nursery was available for comment today.
Some parents appeared shocked and upset as they arrived to collect their children from the nursery.
One mother, who did not want to be named, said: "I was contacted by a couple of friends this morning who told me what had happened.
"I've been told someone entered with a firearm, but that's as much as I know.
"It does shake you up because they're saying it's a targeted attack so what if they come back?
"They think it was aimed at a parent dropping a child off."
The nursery remained open on Wednesday but a police cordon was in place and forensics officers were seen going into the building.