A 49-year-old man has been arrested after reports shots were fired at three locations in Liverpool, including a cinema, Merseyside Police have said.
It comes after a major incident was declared as armed officers launched a manhunt following the shooting reports.
Assistant Chief Constable Jenn Wilson called the three separate shootings in close proximity and quick succession “extremely rare” and said it was the first time an incident of this nature had happened on the streets of Merseyside.
Police said that at about 8.50pm on Wednesday they received reports a firearm had been discharged at Showcase Cinemas on East Lancashire Road in the Croxteth area.
According to reports, a man with a gun entered the cinema complex and threatened two members of staff in the foyer before leaving.
Outside he allegedly fired a number of shots in the air before escaping in a car.
The complex was put into lockdown, with the majority of people in the cinema watching films at the time, police said.
The force said no one was injured, and that while the event was not terrorist related, it was being treated as a major incident.
It came shortly after reports shots were fired at a newsagents on Lower House Lane, where a man had allegedly threatened and demanded cash from a shop assistant before firing a gun and leaving the store empty-handed, police said.
The shop assistant was not injured during the incident, but was left extremely distressed.
Reports of a third incident were received about 10.20pm after shots were heard at a property on Malpas Road.
All three locations are within a three-mile radius of each other, according to Google Maps.
The man was arrested early on Thursday morning on suspicion of possession of a Section 1 firearm with intent to endanger life and robbery.
He was arrested by armed response officers in Fazakerley after a Taser was deployed.
Assistant Chief Constable Wilson said: “I can report that a 49-year-old man has been arrested following three firearms discharges in the Croxteth and Norris Green areas last night.
“Thankfully incidents like this, involving a single offender in three separate shootings in close proximity and quick succession, are extremely rare and this is the first time we have had to deal with an incident of this nature on the streets of Merseyside.
“The shocking and distressing impact these incidents will have had on the shop assistant, the staff at the Showcase Cinema and those filmgoers who found themselves in a lockdown situation in the complex after shots were fired outside the cinema and the residents of Malpas Road cannot be underestimated.
“Officers were on the ground immediately following the first incident and were able to respond swiftly to the subsequent discharges, and a male was identified, located and arrested on suspicion of all three discharges within 13 hours.
“High visibility patrols will remain in the area to reassure members of the local community.”
Stonedale retail park – where the cinema is – and all shops within the area will remain closed while officers continue investigations.
Written by: Newsroom