At LONG last By Sky News SkyNews - 1 hour 9 minutes agoThe prime suspect in the murder of 11-year-old Liverpool schoolboy Rhys Jones has been arrested in a dawn raid by Merseyside Police. ADVERTISEMENT The 17-year-old, who has been seized twice before, was among a dozen held after more than 100 officers swooped on 10 homes across Liverpool in an operation that had been planned for weeks. Police now believe they have the key people they sought over the shooting. It is a vital moment in the eight-month investigation, as detectives need to be sure of having enough evidence to charge the the prime suspect this time. A Merseyside Police spokesman told Sky News Online that four males aged 16, 17, 24, and 25 had been arrested on suspicion of murder. A 49-year-old man and two boys, aged 15 and 16, were seized on suspicion of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice and a 17-year-old was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. The 16-year-old is also suspected of possessing a firearm and ammunition. Three women aged 50, 54 and 21, and a 22-year-old man are also in custody on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Rhys Jones was shot dead as he walked across a pub car park near his home on the Croxteth Park estate in Liverpool last August. The football mad youngster bled to death. It is thought he was hit by mistake in an attack between two rival gangs. His killer, a youth in a hoody, escaped on a black bicycle, prompting a mass appeal for witnesses. However, Merseyside Police faced great problems finding evidence and getting witnesses to talk. Many people must have seen the shooting as they sat outside the Firtree pub on a warm Wednesday night. But they were too scared to come forward, despite appeals from Everton footballers - Rhys' heroes. Slowly information did trickle in and police have been able to build up a case against their prime suspect and others thought to have helped him evade justice. The shooting fuelled the debate on guns and gangs, which are particular problems on Merseyside. Recently, Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe criticised some judges for being lenient on gun crime and not invoking the minimum five-year sentence for firearm possession.