27/05/2012 14:54 BST | Updated 27/05/2012 15:10 BST

Manchester Pub Shooting: Family Pay Tribute To Father-Of-One Mark Short

The family of a father shot dead in a pub in Manchester have paid tribute to a "young man with a big heart".

Relatives of 23-year-old Mark Short, who was killed in a Greater Manchester pub by a lone gunman on Friday, branded his killers "cowards".

Three other men were also injured when a masked man opened fire on a group of people stood around a pool table in the Cotton Tree pub in Market Street, Droylsden.

The shooting happened shortly before 11.50pm on Friday.

In a tribute issued through Greater Manchester Police, Mr Short's family, said: "On 25 May we lost our son Mark.

"He was a loving son, brother, father and boyfriend to Naomi.

"Mark was taken away from us by cowards.

"People who knew Mark, knew him as a young man with a big heart. He would not think twice about helping his family and friends when they were in need.

"He is not the young man the papers are portraying him as. He was no angel and it is not a secret he had been in trouble with the police, but that was all in the past.

"Mark was only 23 years old and looking forward to a future with his son, Mark Junior. This has now all been taken away from him.

"He will be deeply missed by all of his family and friends: the only ones that knew him the most."

The statement ends: "Our son will be sadly missed and will never be forgotten. His memory will be love in our hearts forever.

"Love Always, Pops, Mum, Stacey, Naomi, Mark Junior and all the family x x."

Police said a 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

A 52-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and possessing class A drugs while two other men, aged 21 and 18, have been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Detective Chief Inspector Denise Worth, of GMP's Major Incident Team, said: "Mark was a young man who was tragically shot dead while in a pub with family and friends, and our thoughts are with his loved ones who have, understandably, been left devastated.

"We remain in the very early stages of our investigation and I continue to appeal to anyone with information about the gunman, his accomplices or conspirators to contact us in absolute confidence.

"There continue to be extra police officers in the area so if anyone wants to provide information about this or has any concerns, please come and talk to us."

Two men, aged 25 and 26, were shot in the leg and a 29-year-old man was shot in the lower back.

The men are being treated in hospital. Their injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Speaking from the scene yesterday, Chief Superintendent Nick Adderley said a man burst into the private party and opened fire.

"We don't believe this to be a random attack, although we are not clear about who the intended victim was," he said.

Around 20 people, aged 18-65, were said to be in the pub at the time.

Mr Adderley said officers were keeping an open mind about the motive but said all the victims were known to the police.

The gunman was wearing a balaclava and escaped in a Ford Focus which was found abandoned and alight in Ellison Close, Hattersley, a short time later.

Police believe the gunman used a revolver and that four shots were fired in the pub.

It is understood that two people may have been waiting outside the pub in the getaway car.

The shooting is not thought to be gang-related, but Mr Adderley said that could not be ruled out by investigators.

He said the victim's family were "deeply shocked" and were being looked after by police family liaison officers.

Floral tributes were left at the scene.