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Mother of shot man appeals for gun to be handed in before 'someone is killed'

Police forensic experts examine the scene of a shooting in the New Lodge area of north Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan.

THE mother of a man critically injured in a shooting in north Belfast, has called for the gun used in the attack to be handed over before "someone loses their life".

Richard 'Ricky' Mailey (24) was shot in the abdomen and received head and facial injuries following an incident in the New Lodge in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Police said they were not treating the incident as a paramilitary-style attack.

Graphic pictures show the extent of the injuries caused by the gunshot - which left a 15cm open wound which will require months of intensive treatment - while 39 staples were used to close his chest after surgery.

Residents of Grainne House flats tended the injured man until emergency services arrived, but the gun used in the attack has still to be recovered.

Richard 'Ricky' Mailey was shot in the abdomen during the attack.

Speaking to The Irish News the injured man's mother Debbie Goodall, said whoever now has possession of the gun used attack, "should hand it in".

"If they don't want to hand it to police, give it to someone in the community to hand over to police, before someone else is seriously hurt or killed", she said.

"There is no excuse for having guns in this day and age, that weapon almost killed my son it needs recovered before someone loses their life".

Mr Mailey is expected to spend several more weeks in hospital and remains in a serious condition.

"His oxygen levels keep dropping and because they can't close the wound on his chest he is at high risk of infection", his mother said.

The injured man, who is originally from north Down but who had been living in north Belfast, was arrested at his bedside on Monday night on suspicion of attempted murder and placed on police bail.

A 23-year-old man was also arrested and questioned on the same charge. He has also been released on bail.

A third man, believed to have been present during the shooting, is still being sought by police who have been conducting searches in north Belfast in recent days in an attempt to recover the weapon used in the attack.

Ms Goodall, who said reports that the injured man was the son of loyalist killer Stephen Irwin were incorrect, questioned how her son could be arrested for attempted murder "when he's the victim".

"Where is the person he is meant to have tried to murder, what are their injuries?" she said last night.

"My son was beaten by a crowd and shot. I'd like police to concentrate on taking the gun used off the streets rather than coming to my son's hospital bed where he is no threat to anyone."

The PSNI did not comment last night.

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