Armed police closed a busy Birkby road this evening in a dramatic move following the shooting of a 32-year-old man in a nearby street early today.

Shocked residents on Wheathouse Road watched in amazement as police parked two vans across the road and stopped traffic close to its junction with Blacker Road traffic lights and raced inside a house which is divided into flats.

Police close off Wheathouse Road in Birkby
Police close off Wheathouse Road in Birkby

A male eyewitness said: “All of a sudden police swooped down and closed the road. One van was parked past the bus stop and another one preventing traffic coming up from the lights.

“I just saw four armed police officers stood outside the house and several officers going inside the house before leaving. It was all over in half an hour or so.

“Traffic including a number of buses had to be diverted up Birkby Lodge Road.

“This shooting and its aftermath have been the only things people have been talking about all day in Birkby. It’s completely gripped everyone.”

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This evening, Richard Chaffer, a retired supermarket manager, who has lived on Arnold Street since 1981, said of the shooting victim who lives up the road from him: “I was surprised to hear what happened. They are a nice family and he seems a pleasant lad. He always spoke to me.”

At around 7.30pm police removed the cordon on Arnold Street allowing traffic to move freely up and down it once more. However, several houses on both sides of the street remained cordoned off.

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A young woman on Wheathouse Road said she had told police she saw the man suspected of carrying out the shooting running away this morning. She said he had been driving a blue Ford.

A cousin of the victim told the Examiner tonight that he was undergoing surgery this evening and his family was in shock.