'Fight for life' | 

Shot PSNI officer recently gave evidence at Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch’s trial

Detective Inspector John Caldwell had just months ago given evidence before the Special Criminal Court identifying the ‘Flat Cap’ shooter involved in the Regency Hotel murder.

DCI John Cardwell© Jonathan Porter/Press Eye

The scene in Omagh, Co Tyrone, where Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot. Photo: NW Newspix

Photo taken by the Sunday World during the Regency Hotel gun attack

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

The PSNI officer who is “fighting for his life” after being shot in Omagh, Co Tyrone, last night recently gave evidence at the trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was seriously injured on Wednesday evening as he was placing footballs in the boot of his car after coaching an under-15’s team at a sports complex on the Killyclogher Road.

His young son was by his side at the time of the shooting.

Just months ago, the senior police officer appeared before the Special Criminal Court to give evidence in the Regency Hotel murder trial.

Police officer shot at sports complex in Co Tyrone

He identified the ‘Flat Cap’ shooter involved in the killing of drug dealer David Byrne as the late Kevin Murray.

Detective Inspector Caldwell revealed to the court that he was at Ballymun Garda Station in 2016 when he was shown a photo of a man in a flat cap carrying “a firearm or pistol” in his right hand.

Speaking to the court in October, he recalled that he recognised the man as Strabane native Kevin Murray and told Fiona Murphy SC, prosecuting, that he knew Murray from the time he spent in Strabane.

He had last spoken to him face-to-face in April of that year, while Murray was at his father’s address.

Photo taken by the Sunday World during the Regency Hotel gun attack

Attempts were made to extradite Murray after his arrest in 2016, though he died of motor neurone disease just 18 months after the gun attack.

Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch and his co-accused Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy continue to await the verdict of the high-profile murder trial.

Mr Caldwell remains in critical condition following the attack on Wednesday, he underwent surgery last night after suffering a number of bullet wounds to his torso.

He is “fighting for his life,” PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said at a press conference today.

Three men aged 38, 45, and 47, were arrested last night in Omagh and Coalisland.

The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act in connection with the attempted murder. They are currently being questioned by detectives in Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

Assistant Chief Constable for Crime Department Mark McEwan said: “The officer’s condition remains critical but stable.

"We are closely consulting with John Caldwell’s family, who are understandably shocked at last night’s shooting. John is a highly respected senior investigating officer who dedicates himself to service both in supporting victims and families in bringing others to justice.

The scene in Omagh, Co Tyrone, where Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot. Photo: NW Newspix

"He is also an active member of the Omagh community.”

ACC McEwan added the attack was “utterly disgusting that the gunmen carried out this attempted murder in front of crowds of adults and children. John’s own young son was with him at the time and witnessed the shooting.

“The trauma inflicted on this young boy is just horrific and he will never forget seeing his dad shot multiple times” he said.

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