A MAJOR manhunt is underway following a fatal stabbing of a Halesowen schoolgirl on a bus just outside Birmingham city centre.
The 16 year-old girl, named locally as Christina Edkins, was making her way to Leasowes High School in Kent Road on the number nine bus when she was attacked.
Officers from across the force − supported by police dog handlers, firearms officers, transport police and others − are currently searching for the person responsible.
Specially trained Family Liaison Officers are providing immediate care for the victim’s next of kin in conjunction with partner agencies.
Detectives from the force’s Criminal Investigation Department are currently working alongside specialist Forensic Scene Investigators at the scene to identify CCTV systems which may have captured the incident on camera.
Initial descriptions of the knifeman from witnesses is a black man in his teens with very dark skin who was wearing dark coloured clothing. His jacket is thought to have a tiger’s head or other large motif printed on the back. He may have been carrying a bag of some sort.
Detective Superintendent Richard Baker from Force CID urged the public to help keep their eyes peeled and to report any sightings.
"This is a tragic case and the victim’s family are devastated. Few of us can imagine what they are going through and we are working hard to indentify the offender which involves speaking to a large number of people who witnessed the attack," said Det Supt Baker.
"From their descriptions, we are keen to identify a young black man in dark clothing who was on the bus and seen fleeing from the area around the time of the murder.
"I would urge the public not to approach the man but to immediately dial 999. We have officers ready to respond immediately to sightings."
Police were alerted to the incident at 7.37am when the bus driver reported that a passenger had been wounded.
Officers and other emergency services were immediately dispatched but despite valiant efforts to save the teen it was clear that this was a fatal attack.
Officers who flooded the scene and spoke to witnesses remain at the location near to the Morrisons supermarket on Hagley Road.
The out of city stretch of Hagley Road re-opened at around 11.45am.
Officers have spoken to a large number of witnesses at the scene but anyone with information which may help police find the person responsible for killing the girl should call officers immediately on the dedicated incident room hotline: 0800 096 0095.