Detectives investigating the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones said today that they had found a gun they believe was the murder weapon.
Police said the gun was one of 108 removed from the streets since the schoolboy was murdered in Croxteth Park, Liverpool, six months ago.
Officers also revealed today that they have established the exact make of bicycle used by the mystery gunman who left Rhys dying in a pool of blood on 22 August last year.
Detective Superintendent Dave Kelly, leading the inquiry, said: "We are following a number of positive lines of inquiry and today I would like to take the opportunity to issue a photograph of a particular model of bike, which we believe was used by the offender on the night of the murder.
"The bike is a Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. Witnesses on the night described the bike as having a silver frame, black forks and a black seat.
"I am appealing to anyone who may have seen anyone riding this type of bike in the area following Rhys's murder to contact us.
"I am also appealing to anyone who may know where this bike is now to come forward."
Detectives believe the bike was left, along with another, on a football playing field in Parkview Road, Croxteth, at approximately 8.30pm on the night of the murder.
Mr Kelly went: "I would appeal to anyone who may have come across the bikes and taken them and who now has possession of them, or who knows anything about them, to contact the incident room.
"Their information could prove vital to this investigation."
Commenting on the prime suspect, whose name is widely known in Liverpool, Mr Kelly said: "I am fully aware that there has been a lot of speculation in the local community and on the internet about the name of a potential offender.
"However, we have to deal with fact and require evidence to present any case and progress it through the courts.
"Again, I would like to thank the public who have come forward for their continued help and support in providing statements or information.
"However, I would still appeal to anybody who saw the incident, or who has any information, no matter how trivial they think it is, to come forward.
"We have a very clear strategy for this investigation, and we're determined to leave no stone unturned. We're confident with the advancements we're making in the investigation, and that we will be able to progress towards charges and a successful prosecution, the timescale for which will be governed by the evidence."
As part of the investigation, 20 people have been arrested - 17 on suspicion of murder. Four remain on bail and others are police witnesses.
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of firearms offences and remain on police bail and another person remains on bail on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The force spokesman added that inquiries continue into those on bail.Reuse content