Belfast: Man shot dead in ‘brutal’ gun attack

A man has been shot dead in west Belfast.

The gun attack happened in Rodney Parade off the Lower Falls Road on Saturday and police are at the scene.

Police have confirmed the man, a father of one in his late 20s, was shot a number of times before being pronounced dead at hospital.

He is believed to have been a well known dissident republican, and was previously arrested and questioned about the murder of Robbie Lawlor.

Robbie Lawlor, a Dublin criminal, was shot dead in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in April.

‘Brutal murder’

Det Ch Insp Darren McCartney confirmed a murder inquiry had been launched following the killing.

He said it had been “brutal murder”, and that the “the brazen recklessness of the killers completely beggars belief”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

He said that his thoughts were with the victim’s family, and that it was too early to speculate on any possible motivation for the attack.

He added he was aware that a large number of people were in the area at the time of the attack, and appealed for anyone who witnessed it, or who has dashcam footage of it to come forward.

‘Brutal and shameful attack’

The deceased is understood to have been from the area where he was killed.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey has described it as a “brutal and shameful attack”.

“My thoughts are with the family of the man was has been killed. No family should have to go through this heartache,” he said.

In a statement, the Sinn Féin MP added: “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.”

Mr Maskey said the police operation was continuing in the St James’ area of west Belfast and he appealed for anyone with information to contact the PSNI.