Date: 1 Jan 2004
Danny McDonald was shot at point-blank range in the Royal Oak pub in West Derby on New Year’s Day 2004 at about 5pm.
He was a member of the Croxteth Crew and his murder caused a number of revenge attacks. Less than 24 hours after he was shot, shots were fired at a house in Sovereign Road in Croxteth in what was thought to have been a revenge attack. It was said to have escalated violence between the Crocky Young Guns and Strand Gang (Nogga Dogz) gangs in north Liverpool that would not have otherwise have happened ordinarily and which resulted in the murder of Liam Smith who was shot in July 2006 outside Altcourt prison and later Joseph Thompson in June 2012 as well as the murder of Rhys Jones, a young boy, in August 2007 who was also shot accidently by Sean Mercer, a Croxteth Crew gang member who had been targeting rival gang members. He had fired three shots, one of which had hit Rhys Jones as he played football. The shooting took place the day before the anniversary of Liam Smith's murder.
Danny McDonald had been with a friend in the pub at the time who was also shot in the stomach or back but who survived.
There had been about 60 people drinking in the pub at the time. The gunman had come into the pub wearing a jacket with a hood up concealing his face. He was also said to have been wearing a ski mask.
The police said that the shooting had been targeted. They said that the gunman had walked straight into the pub, past a number of other people and shot him. Danny McDonald had been standing at the bar at the time when he was shot. When the police arrived, he was found lying on the floor a short distance away at the door to the pub where he had staggered.
Danny McDonald had been shot four times. His friend had been shot once in the stomach or back.
Five people were arrested for his murder but no one was charged. However, one of the suspects, Joseph Thompson, was later shot in June 2012 in a murder that is also unsolved. Liam Smith, who was in the Strand Gang, was also thought to have been involved or responsible and was shot dead in July 2006 outside Altcourse Prison, in Fazakerley. It was said that the murder of Danny McDonald had earned him promotion in the gang, sending him to the top.
It was said that Danny McDonald might have been targeted after a nail bomb was thrown into the Dickie Lewis pub on Walton Road in Kirkdale the previous September. The bomb had been filled with screws and nails. However, the fuze on the bomb had fizzled out and it didn't explode. That attack itself was thought to have been in response to a car bomb that had gone off a week before outside the Club 051 club in Mount Pleasant. The bomb had been planted in a Peugeot 205 car and had gone off at about 11pm. However, the area was noted for having not been, as usual, packed with revellers and no one was injured.
Danny McDonald was said to have been a leader in the Croxteth Crew.
In 2008 the police said that at the time there had been about 100 people in the gangs and that in 2008 43 were then in custody. They said that in order to stop the violence they had started an aggressive program of stop and search on known gang members and that they were actively looking to arrest and prosecute them for any crimes and said that one gang member had been successfully prosecuted for having an under-inflated car tyre.