Police say murder of Kevin McGuigan was 'ruthless and premeditated'
MURDER victim Kevin McGuigan had stepped up security and event spent time living away from his Short Strand home after being told by police that his life was under threat from republicans.
Police had warned the 53 year-old to step up his personal safety following the murder of the IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison in May of this year. His son Kevin Jnr was also warned that he was under threat from republicans.
His home at Comber Court in the Short Strand area of east Belfast had been fitted with a number of additional security features including a large perimeter fence and security doors in recent months.
The father-of-nine had been to Ballymena on Wednesday night to watch two of his daughters play camogie but as the victim got out to open a gate into his house shortly before 9pm on his return two masked men approached and shot him several times.
There is speculation that the men were lying in wait and may have been tipped off about his movements by someone close to the 53-year-old.
In 1986 McGuigan was jailed for 12 years along with Ardoyne republican Martin Meehan for abducting a British soldier.
When released from prison he was active in the IRA cover group Direct Action Against Drugs DAAD. He later fell foul of the organisation and was shot in the legs in a paramilitary style attack ordered by 'Jock' Davison.
It is thought that associates of Davison may have carried out the killing in retaliation for his murder.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea from Serious Crime Branch who is investigating, described the murder as "ruthless and premeditated".
"At this point we believe two men were involved in the murder, approaching Comber Court on foot. They fired at Mr McGuigan from point blank range, striking him a number of times in the head and chest. They had their faces covered and were wearing dark clothing. Afterwards, they ran off.
"We need to hear from anyone who has information about the events of last night, about the movements of the gunmen both leading up to and immediately after the shooting.
“I am aware of speculation around a possible motive for this murder," he said.
"Mr McGuigan was spoken to by police as part of the investigation into the murder of Jock Davison last May. But he was spoken to as a potential witness, not a suspect.
"Speculation is not helpful and is potentially dangerous.
"I would also appeal to those with influence in the community to use all their efforts to reduce tension and appeal for calm and restraint at this very difficult time", Mr McVea added.
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