Appeal for witnesses in Birmingham 'mistaken identity' shooting

 

The cousin of a father-of-two who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity has appealed for witnesses to help police catch his “mindless” killer.

Detectives believe Marlon O'Reilly was gunned down because he was wearing a similar T-shirt to the intended target of the shooting at a Birmingham pub.

Speaking at a police press conference, the victim's cousin, Hayley O'Reilly, said the 33-year-old's death had left his family and friends devastated.

Miss O'Reilly, 29, told reporters: "Marlon will be sorely missed. The chasm left in our hearts is immeasurable as this person who meant so much to us and brought so much fun, laughter and happiness has been taken away in such a brutal fashion.

"We thank everyone for their condolences and hope justice will be served to whoever is responsible for this callous act.

"The person who did this did it mindlessly. They were after somebody who was wearing the same T-shirt as Marlon and that's why Marlon was murdered.

"It was a mindless act and the person needs to be brought to justice."

Mr O'Reilly, who was studying graphic design, was pronounced dead at the Dovecote pub in Cockshut Hill after a gunman opened fire at about 5.45pm on Friday.

The offender, described as a well-built white man wearing blue clothing, fled from the scene on a high-powered motorbike.

Miss O'Reilly, who described her cousin as a loving father, son and brother, said: "For his mum's sake, I ask anybody who knows anything to help the police."

Miss O'Reilly was flanked at the news conference at West Midlands Police headquarters by her partner, Aaron Days, and Chief Superintendent Alex Murray.

Mr Murray, the policing commander for East Birmingham, revealed that the shooting was thought to be linked to a serious assault at a gym in the Sheldon area of Birmingham earlier on Friday.

Confirming that officers believe the killer targeted Mr O'Reilly by mistake, Mr Murray said: "The gunman went in (to the pub) with the intention of killing someone and we believe it's highly likely that he killed the wrong person.

"As Hayley said, someone who was in the pub may have looked quite a lot like Marlon.

"From speaking to the family, it's really clear that Marlon was a loving brother, a loving family man who had two children. He was there just having a quiet drink.

"Our thoughts and our condolences go with the family for someone who has been taken away - it appears that fate has dealt a very cruel hand to this family in this incident."

A number of lines of inquiry are being followed up and several people have been arrested and bailed in connection with the earlier incident at a gym, in which a victim was slashed with a knife.

Mr Murray declined to say how many shots had been fired inside the pub, but did disclose that the intended target was unharmed and was now being "safeguarded" by police.

The officer said: "We believe the motive may well be associated with a fracas in a gym nearby earlier that day, but there are a number of lines of inquiry."

Anyone with information which could assist the investigation is asked to contact police on 101 or the independent Crimestoppers charity, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

PA

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