Police believe a handgun used to kill two people at a party in Moss Side was supplied on the night, the MEN can reveal.
They have a prime suspect for the killings but he has been on the run 14 months, and may be abroad.
The suspect was one of group of about 20 people from Birmingham who attended the rave.
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Today five women were arrested in dawn swoops in the West Midlands by a GMP team investigating the gun murders of Cheriff Tall, 21, and Abayomi 'Junior' Ajose, 36.
They were both shot in the head at a party in Moss Side on June 21st 2020, and died from their injuries within hours.
It is thought Mr Ajose, a community worker, known as Abe, was shot as he attempted to defuse trouble when it broke out at the rave.
GMP have been working closely with West Midlands Police to try and locate the suspect.
It is common knowledge in both Manchester and Birmingham who the suspect is.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Wilkinson of GMP's Major Incident Team, who is leading the hunt for the killer, said: "We have intelligence to suggest that the firearm was supplied on the night in Manchester. We have not recovered the gun and we asking for information from anyone who may now who provided it and where it is now.
"I do not think the shooting was a planned hit. Shooting two people in front of 400 others at party is not a planned hit. I am keeping an open mind, but the gunman may have acquired the weapon for his own protection while in Manchester, but he has ended up murdering two people."
Three shots were fired from the 9mm handgun. There is no ballistic evidence that it had been used before, which suggests it was a "clean" weapon.
Detective Chief Inspector Wilkinson said: "We had conflicting intelligence as to whether the suspect is abroad or in this country. But he is clearly getting help and when we find him those who have assisted him will be dealt with accordingly. "
Five women - aged between 33 and 24 - were arrested today (Wednesday 27 October) on suspicion of assisting an offender and were taken to custody for questioning. They included the re-arrest of a woman who was held earlier in the investigation.
Officers from GMP travelled down to Birmingham to carry out dawn raids at five addresses across Handsworth, Birmingham and Stourbridge - with support from West Midlands Police and the National Crime Agency.
The warrants come as part of a dedicated investigation by detectives in GMP's Major Incident Team who have worked relentlessly for over a year to collect evidence in relation to the fatal shootings.
So far officers have knocked on over 225 doors and spoken to over 450 witnesses following the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Wilkinson, of our Major Investigation Unit, said: "The murder of these two men caused shockwaves throughout the Moss Side community which are still felt over a year on from the shooting, and the families have been left with many unanswered questions and no one to hold accountable for the death of their loved ones.
"Our detectives have been working continuously on this case for over a year, collecting all available evidence both forensically and from witnesses, and investigate all leads and possibilities thoroughly and exhaustively as we work to ensure that the individual responsible will face the full consequences of his actions.
"The families are always in the forefront of our minds, and I hope that these arrests today bring us a step closer to providing them with the justice they are rightly entitled to.
"Although we are hopeful that today's arrests could play an important part in our investigation, it is essential that anyone who has any further information about the man responsible for this horrific crime comes forwards, as the more information we have, the closer we are to removing this criminal from the streets and ensuring he is no longer a danger to others in the community."
It is believed Mr Ajose, a support worker known as Junior or Aby, and father of three, stepped in to help Mr Tall, who had ambitions to become a pilot or join the army, when the latter became involved in an argument with the gunman.
DCI Wilkinson said: "If you have any information at all that has not yet been shared with us, contact the police or the confidential hotline 0161 856 9908, knowing that information will be treated with the strictest confidence. Even the smallest piece of information could prove vital in finding justice for Cheriff and Abayome."
The public can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.