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North Belfast shooting: Dead man named as Michael McGibbon (33)

The PSNI has appealed for anyone who witnessed the shooting to contact them

The man shot dead in a gun attack in north Belfast on Friday night has been named as father of four Michael McGibbon (33).

Mr McGibbon died after being shot three times in the leg in an alleyway at Butler Place which is located close to Elmfield Street in Ardoyne.  He was rushed to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery but died from his injuries.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Detective Superintendent John McVea said Mr McGibbon had been threatened the previous evening by two masked men and they were appealing for information from anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area around the time of the incident.

"Michael was brutally and callously shot a number of times in the leg in an alleyway in a densely populated urban area. Despite the best efforts of his wife Joanne immediately after the attack, she was unable to save him and Michael tragically passed away following emergency surgery at the RVH. What happened in that alleyway last night robbed a family of a treasured husband and father.

"There is nothing that can justify or explain the senselessness of this murder and let's be clear, that is what we are talking about here. Michael McGibbon was a local man. As I've said, he was a husband and a father (and) he was also a taxi driver who was well known in his community. He was a man with no criminal record, no apparent criminal connections or associations and today we are talking about his murder.  There is no rationalising that.

"This killing bears all the hallmarks of a paramilitary murder. Those who carried it out have no legitimacy in this community and today I am asking the community to help us find them. I am appealing in particular to two males who called at the McGibbon home late in the evening of 14 April. These men asked Mr McGibbon to step out of the house. When he refused, they stated that they would be back.

"The first male is described as in his early twenties, slim and was wearing a red hooded top, baseball cap and had a scarf over his face. The second is described as in his late teens, wearing a grey hooded top, baseball cap and also had a scarf over his face.

"I am asking these men, or anyone who knows their identity, to get in touch with police. If there is an innocent explanation for your presence at the house on Thursday night, allow us to eliminate you from this enquiry. I am also aware that other people in the area may also have been visited in a similar manner in recent days and I asking for these people to make contact with police.

"Finally, I would like to reiterate that the support of the community and local information will be vital in this investigation. If you were in the area last night or if you know anything that could potentially assist with our investigation, then please call the incident room at Ladas Drive on 028 90700303. Or you can phone the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111." 

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said an armed gang suspected of a previous fatal shooting in the area was responsible.

"I unreservedly condemn the murder of a father of four in Ardoyne last night. This killing has shocked the local community in north Belfast. 

"This is the second such killing carried out in this area in the last six months by an armed gang which is clearly at war with the local community.  I am calling on anyone with information on both of these killings to bring it forward to the PSNI . There can be no place for such actions in our society. 

"Those who carried out this terrible act do not represent the local community in north Belfast. They need to realise that they have no support and get off the backs of the community. The community demands that they call a halt to these actions immediately."

Alliance councillor Nuala McAllister added her condemnation.

"My thoughts are with the loved ones of the man shot dead,” said Councillor McAllister.

“There can never be any excuse for carrying out such a heinous act and I utterly condemn the thugs behind it. Thanks to them, there is now a man lying dead and a family plunged into mourning.

“Violent attacks and murder have no place in our society. This was a brutal crime and those behind it need taken off our streets. Our entire community must unite against those who seek to drag us back to the bloody days of the past.

“I would urge anyone with any information at all to contact police immediately.”

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