Belfast man was chased by two masked gunmen through packed streets before he was shot dead – as police reveal he was linked to dissident republicans and arrested over the murder of a gangland boss
- A man with links to dissident republications was shot dead in west Belfast today
- He was chased by two masked gunmen before being killed in broad daylight
- Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said the man was shot in a ‘brutal and shameful attack’
- Detectives and local police are attending the scene on St Katharine’s Road
A Belfast man with links to dissident republicans was chased by two masked gunmen through the streets of west Belfast before he was shot dead.
The victim was shot a number of times in St Katharine’s Road just before 1pm today, after he was chased through streets packed with people and motorists.
The man, believed to be a ‘drug kingpin’ by police, is understood to have been linked to the murder of slain Dublin hitman Robbie Lawlor.
The PSNI have launched a murder investigation after he was shot in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon.
A man, who is thought to be known to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), was killed on Saturday afternoon in west Belfast (scene pictured above)
The victim of the shooting is understood to have been linked to the murder of slain Dublin hitman Robbie Lawlor (pictured)
Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney criticised the ‘brutal murder’.
He said: ‘I have launched a murder investigation following the fatal shooting of a man in his late 20s this afternoon.
‘I believe the man was chased from the junction of Rodney Parade and St James’s Road along Rodney Parade by two masked gunmen before he was shot a number of times at close range in St Katharine’s Road.
‘This was a brutal murder and the brazen recklessness of the killers completely beggars belief.
‘They did not give any thought to the risk posed to local people in this community who were going about their business at lunchtime when they ran through the streets firing shots. Nor did they care who may have been collateral damage in this highly populated residential area during their mission to kill.
‘My thoughts are very much with the family of the victim who are tonight in a state of shock and grieving for their loved one. No family should ever have to go through this heartbreak.’
It is understood that the victim of the shooting had significant links to dissident republicans
Detectives and local police are attending the scene of the shooting at Rodney Parade (above)
Detective McCartney said it is too early to speculate on the motive for the murder but said that police will be working to piece together all the information and evidence.
He continued: ‘I know the community is in shock but I would appeal to anyone who has information about this appalling murder to bring that forward to the police so that we can remove these dangerous gunmen from the streets.
‘I would like to hear from anyone who saw the victim being chased by the two gunmen in the Rodney Drive, St James’s Road, Rodney Parade and St Katharine’s Road areas before and after the shooting.
‘I am aware the area was busy with pedestrians and motorists so I am asking anyone who may have captured any footage of the incident to please make that available to us also.
‘Please call detectives with any information on 101.’
SDLP west Belfast councillor Brian Heading said the ‘brutal crime’ has caused immense shock in the area.
He said: ‘Police have locked down the street where the shooting took place. I would urge everyone to co-operate with PSNI officers as they investigate.
‘Those responsible for this barbaric crime have no support here.
‘They need to be caught and brought to justice. I would encourage anyone with information to bring it to the police as soon as possible.’
People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll said: ‘Tragically, we have heard of another brutal murder in west Belfast.
Police officers have not yet released any further details about the shooting (pictured, a police car at the scene in west Belfast)
Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said the man was shot dead in a ‘brutal and shameful attack’ (pictured, police attending the scene on Saturday)
‘I have been on the ground speaking to residents in the area this afternoon and people are outraged at this horrific attack.
‘These barbaric actions heap pain and trauma on our community. They have no place in our society. Thoughts with the individual and their family.’
Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey said the local man was shot dead in a ‘brutal and shameful attack’.
He added: ‘My thoughts are with the family of the man who has been killed. No family should have to go through this heartache.
‘Those involved in this act have absolutely no place in our community, they must cease their anti-community activities and get off the back of the people of west Belfast.
‘Those responsible must be held accountable before the courts.
‘A police operation is ongoing in the St James’ area and I would appeal to anyone with information on this shooting to bring it forward to the PSNI.’