Supermarket killer of Colin Horner is on bail for paramilitary offences
THE loyalist believed to have pulled the trigger on UDA feud victim Colin Horner in front of his three-year-old son is currently on bail charged with other paramilitary offences.
The 35-year-old was shot dead in the car park of a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Bangor, Co Down on Sunday afternoon by a lone gunman who fired at least three shots at close range in front of horrified shoppers.
Mr Horner is the latest victim of a feud among rival factions of the ruthless South East Antrim UDA.
The victim was a close friend of former UDA commander Geordie Gilmore, who was murdered in March of this year.
Sources say that Mr Horner, who was known to police, was considered a soft target having moved to Bangor after fleeing his previous address under death threat.
His killer is thought to a be a UDA man currently on bail conditions that include wearing an electronic tag. Tags fitted to bail applicants in Northern Ireland do not have GPS and are used only to verify if the wearer is adhering to a court ordered curfew.
His murder was believed to have been intended as a warning to other loyalists who have remained loyal to the Gilmore faction.
The gunman is believed to have been caught on camera carrying out the murder. Police said he was wearing a dark coloured hoodie, possibly with a builder's dust mask over his face.
The carpark is dotted with cameras and detectives are now pouring through the footage for information about the killer gang.
There are two cameras pointing directly at the spot where the victim had parked his black Nissan Pulsar registration XFZ 4706 prior to the shooting.
He had left the supermarket and strapped his son into the back seat of the car when a lone gunman approached and fired a number of shots. A stray bullet hit a nearby car.
The gunman made his getaway in a red Ford Mondeo car registration GKZ 7996. Police said these were false number plates and the car driven by an accomplice was later found burnt out at Six Road Ends.
Superintendent Richard Campbell said yesterday that the victim's son was by his father's side just minutes after the shooting, as members of the public and supermarket staff tried to administer first aid, describing the killing as "very brutal and completely reckless".
Police want to trace Mr Horner's movements between the time that he left the Rathgael area of Bangor, where he was living, at 1.30pm until 2.30pm when he arrived at the supermarket car park.
Police also appealed for information about the red Ford Mondeo car with false number plates used as a getaway car.
They have asked the public to check dashboard cameras to see if they recorded the vehicle they believed followed the victim for a time before the murder
Mr Campbell also confirmed that the victim was known to police.
Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill has called on unionists to distance themselves from the UDA in the wake of the murder.
"The UDA has continued to be involved in pipe bombings, intimidation, arson, drug dealing and extortion over the past number of years", she said.
"I call on anyone with any information on this murder to bring it forward to the police. The PSNI has a key role in bringing the activities of these gangs to an end.
"But there is also a responsibility on all of us in positions of political leadership to play our part in challenging the very existence of these groups.
"It is 20 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and all paramilitary groups should leave the stage.
"The political leadership of unionism, the DUP and the UUP must make clear that there can be no grey area, no more equivocation, the UDA have no place in the community and must disband immediately", Ms O'Neill added.