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A Liverpool Football Club player was one of three men shot in a bar in the city yesterday just as the government was accused of letting gun violence in Britain spiral out of control.
Jon Otsemobor, 20, a defender at the Premiership club, was shot in the buttocks while out drinking with friends.
None of the men was seriously injured and the shooting has not been linked to the feud between gangs in the city which have been blamed for a car bomb attack and a nail bomb attack.
There were other shootings at the weekend, fuelling calls for action on gun crime.
Three men were shot in Reading, Berkshire, on Friday night in a drive-by attack. One of the men, who is in his 20s, had to undergo surgery after sustaining serious facial injuries. The other two men were hit in the arms and back.
On Friday, David King, a 32-year-old builder, was shot dead as he left a health club in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. Another man was injured.
A 64-year-old jeweller, Marian Bates, was shot dead in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, last Tuesday during an armed raid. Her family has urged ministers to "put their money where their mouth is" over gun crime.
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said yesterday : "It is clear that we need more effective controls on guns coming into the UK, and to prevent reactivation of firearms."
Oliver Letwin, the shadow home secretary, said: "One might have thought that this was Baghdad. In fact it's Blair's Britain."
The three men were shot as they were drinking in the Wonder Bar in Liverpool at 1.30am yesterday. Mr Otsemobor who has played one first team game, was shot in the buttocks. An 18-year-old from Garston was shot in the hand and thigh and a 24-year-old from Aigburth was shot in the leg.
They were taken to the Royal Liverpool hospital and the man with leg injuries last night remained in hospital but the others were released following treatment, police said.
Inspector Bob Johnson, of Merseyside police, said: "Mr Otsemobor is cooperating with police and has come forward to give officers a statement."
A Merseyside police spokeswoman said: "It's believed the incident may be linked to an argument that occurred earlier in the evening."
Police staged patrols at the weekend in Liverpool in an effort to reassure the public. The operation came a fortnight after a car bomb exploded outside the city centre's Club 051.
The following Saturday night, a nail bomb was thrown into Dickie Lewis's pub in Kirkdale. Both those incidents have been linked to the feud.
The Home Office insisted gun crime was still "relatively rare". But a spokesman said the government had a range of actions planned to tackle its "unacceptable" rise in recent years.
One of the three people shot in Reading was Andre Shepherd, brother of Nadia, the star of the London band Big Brovaz. Mr Shepherd has been a critic of people carrying guns. In a recent interview with the Reading Evening Post he said: "Crews aren't expressing anti-violence messages strong enough or clearly enough. Why do people carry guns? Because they're stupid - it's like asking why do people do drugs."
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