Gunned down | 

Man shot dead in west Belfast was close pal of Robbie Lawlor murder suspect

Detectives have launched a murder investigation into the death of man named locally as Mark Hall
Police at the scene on Rodney Drive in Belfast this evening where Mark Hall was shot dead

Police at the scene on Rodney Drive in Belfast this evening where Mark Hall was shot dead

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A man who died in a hail of bullets in a gun attack in west Belfast this evening has been named locally as Mark Hall.

Police have confirmed that the victim, who was in his 30s and from west Belfast, was rushed to hospital with gunshot injuries on Saturday afternoon where he was later pronounced dead.

The PSNI is investigating the incident that occurred at Rodney Drive close to the Falls Road at around 5pm.

Locals reported hearing several shots being fired and it is understood that the man was hit a number of times.

Detectives have launched a murder investigation into the death of Mr Hall who was a close associate of Warren Crossan, a suspect in the murder of Dublin gangster Robbie Lawlor.

Father-of-two Crossan was shot dead on Saint Katharine's Road in the St James's area of Belfast in June 2020.

Cops believe the callous killers waited for several hours at Crossan's mum's house before chasing him and shooting him multiple times in the busy residential area in broad daylight.

The 28-year-old was targeted in what is believed to be a revenge attack following the murder of gangland enforcer Lawlor in Ardoyne in April 2020.

The 36-year-old Coolock criminal was gunned down outside a house at Etna Drive, where it's believed he attended a pre-arranged meeting to collect cash.

Feared criminal Lawlor had been heavily involved in a feud between rival Drogheda-based factions and is the main suspect in the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Keane Mulready Woods in January 2020.

It is suspected Crossan was killed for providing the getaway car used in the killing of the Dublin hitman.

At the time of his murder Crossan was on bail accused of possessing £180,000 of cocaine with intent to supply after he was arrested in Lisburn.

Last night, one eyewitness who had arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after the shooting of Mr Wall took place said there was a big crowd of the victim’s friends gathered nearby.

“There was a big police presence, but the ambulance had already left with the man’s body,” he said.

“The police had both ends of the street sealed off but were letting residents through.

“I heard that he had been hit as many as eight times and was dead before the paramedics arrived."

Mr Hall was recently acquitted of charges involving the possession of firearms and drugs.

He had been arrested last year, accused of possessing a sawn-off shotgun, pistol and ammunition in Belfast.

He also faced two counts of possessing a Class A drug and one of possessing a Class C drug, but was acquitted of all charges last month.

Local People Before Profit MLA Gerry Carroll tweeted that it was “horrific to hear another shooting happen this evening in West Belfast”.

He added: “There is absolutely no place or justification for these heinous acts. My thoughts tonight are with the victim, their family and everyone impacted by this barbaric and awful incident.”

Paul Doherty of the SDLP added: “Appalling that guns have been used once again on our streets in West Belfast following a shooting incident in the St James' area.

“I have been speaking with residents this evening who are shocked & distressed at this senseless act of violence.”

The thoughts of the whole community are with the victim this evening after this heinous attack.”

In a statement, police said: "A man in his 30s was taken to hospital with gunshot injuries and has since been pronounced dead.

"Detectives have launched a murder investigation." Police remain at the scene of the shooting and have appealed for information."

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