Murder probe launched after man shot in front of ‘horrified onlookers’ in Belfast
He had been drinking with friends in the Suffolk Road social club when he was shot dead in front of horrified onlookers.
A murder investigation has been launched after a man was shot dead at a social club in west Belfast.
Two masked men reportedly entered the premises shortly before 2.30pm on Sunday, police have said in a statement, and shot the man a number of times.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Eyewitnesses have said that it appeared to be a well planned "professional hit.”
The victim is said to be a close friend of Jim JD Donegan, who was gunned down in December 2018.
He had been drinking with friends in the Suffolk Road social club when he was shot dead in front of horrified onlookers. Part of Suffolk Road is closed and a number of diversions are in place.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the victim, who is from west Belfast but had been living in Lisburn, was shot up to nine times and died almost instantly.
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell said: “Both gunmen are believed to have made their escape on foot along Suffolk Road.
“The investigation is at a very early stage and I would urge to anyone with information or anyone who was in the Suffolk Road area at the time the shooting took place and seen two men running from the club or who may have captured dashcam footage to contact us on 101 quoting reference number 1120 02/10/22.”
There were two emergency crews at the scene shortly after the shooting but no one was brought out of the club into the ambulances.
The charity Air Ambulance was also tasked to the incident with HEMS crew on board.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph an eyewitness who was in the premises said police moved them to a different part of the club to preserve the crime scene.
The PSNI helicopter was overhead as relatives of the victim gathered in the car park as police cordoned off the scene.
Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has said the community is in shock after the shooting.
“I condemn those responsible. There is no place for guns on our streets,” he said.
“Anyone with information on this shooting should immediately bring it forward to the police.”
Alliance MLA Nuala McAllister has condemned the “sickening attack” which has "left the entire city shocked, particularly as it took place in the middle of the afternoon in public”.
Ms McAllister, an Alliance Policing Board representative, added that her thoughts are with the loved ones of the victim, “who have been left grieving following this brutal act, carried out by those who don’t speak for anyone in the community.”
"Guns have no place in our society and the culprits need to be taken off our streets immediately.”
SDLP councillor Brian Heading added that the incident has “cast a dark cloud over the entire area”.
"People in this community want to be able to live their lives in peace and this shooting in broad daylight in a busy establishment must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all,” he said.
“People are rightly concerned at the presence of gunmen on our streets and I would urge anyone who knows anything about this shooting to come forward to police as soon as possible. We need these people apprehended to protect the community and ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
Mr Donegan, 43, was shot dead sitting behind the wheel of an £80,000 Porsche as he waited to pick up his 13-year-old son outside St Mary's Grammar School on the Glen Road.
Dissident republicans were said to be behind the killing of the west Belfast man who was a major player in the drugs trade.
His murder took place less than a mile from Sunday’s fatal shooting.
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