Northern Ireland news

Police blame paramilitaries for shooting man in Derry

A masked gang forced their way into a house in the Ballymagroarty area and shot a man in his 60s in the leg. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

POLICE believe a paramilitary organisation was behind the shooting of a man in his 60s in Derry.

Detectives have also ruled out any link between the shooting on Thursday and a separate gun attack on a house in Derry on the same night.

The shooting victim is recovering in hospital today after he was targeted at his home at Corrib Court in the nationalist Ballymagroarty area just before 11pm.

PSNI Detective Inspector Stephanie Finlay said a number of young men were involved in the attack.

“We received a report that a group of young males with their faces covered knocked at the door of a house and forced a man to lie down on the ground before firing a shot at him," she said.

"The man was shot in the left leg but the bullet passed through and also grazed the back of his right leg.”

A short time later, in a separate incident, two shots were fired at a house at Rossnagalliagh in the nearby Galliagh area of Derry.

Ms Finlay said five people - a man, woman and three children - who were in the house escaped injury in the attack shortly before 12.30am.

“Damage was caused to a vehicle parked outside the property and the living room window was smashed during the incident,” she said.

A neighbour of the victim injured in the earlier shooting told The Irish News she believed it was a case of mistaken identity.

“He is a very, very quiet man. He lives on his own, he is there years,” she said.

The Derry woman added that people were living in fear following the attack.

PSNI chief inspector Johnny Hunter said police believed paramilitaries were involved in the initial shooting although he refused to say if dissident republicans were responsible.

“I want to make clear from the outset that we are treating the two incidents as not being connected in any way,” he said.

Both attacks have been widely condemned.

Sinn Féin councillor Eric McGinley said the shooting of the man had caused deep concern and anger.

“There can be no justification or rationale for this outrageous behaviour,” he said.

SDLP councillor Brian Tierney also condemned the attacks.

Mr Tierney, who visited the scene of the Galliagh shooting, said it was "a reckless attack that could have so easily ended in tragedy”.

Ulster Unionist councillor Mary Hamilton who is chair of the Derry policing partnership said: “It is clear that those criminal elements responsible for the attacks have absolutely no concern for people living in these areas."

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