Robert Casey, 25, was shot twice on Tuesday night in Brae Street, Kensington, Liverpool. One bullet hit him in the hand but a second cut through his protective vest into his chest. He died in hospital an hour later.
Growing numbers of Liverpool's underworld members are understood to be using protective vests, following a bloody feud linked to the city's thriving drugs trade. A string of attacks were sparked by the murder of David Ungi, shot dead in an ambush in his car in Toxteth in May last year.
Police are investigating Mr Casey's background, but admitted yesterday that they knew very little about him.
"If a member of the public walks down the street wearing a protective vest, he obviously isn't doing that to keep warm," said Det Supt Russ Walsh, leading the investigation. "It is obviously for a reason. What we need to find out is what the reason is, because we don't know."
He said that although the shooting happened just before 10pm, the area was extremely busy, mainly with young children celebrating Bonfire Night.
"If a bullet had gone astray or ricocheted we could have had ghastly scenario of a young child being hit. That is something that these people tend to disregard."
Mr Casey, who was unemployed and lived alone in a bedsit in Tuebrook, Liverpool, had set off on foot from his home at about 9pm. The gunmen were believed to have been in a red or maroon M or N registered car.
In one week in April, six men were shot in the legs in five separate incidents, including an off-duty police officer, who was shot at his home.Reuse content