Raymond Johnston: 'Dissident group Arm na Poblachta murdered young dad'
MURDER victim Raymond Johnston was killed by dissident republican group Arm na Poblachta, the PSNI have said.
Police today made a television appeal about Mr Johnston's murder and revealed for the first time CCTV images of two suspects caught on camera.
Mr Johnston (28), from Crumlin, Co Antrim, was shot in the chest at Glenbawn Avenue in Poleglass on the evening of February 13 this year. He was killed in front of his partner Eileen Robinson and her 11-year-old daughter.
It is the first time that Arm na Poblachta, a small dissident republican group which only emerged last year, have been directly linked to the murder.
- Eye witness says Raymond Johnston murder scene was a bloodbath
Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Boyce from the PSNI's Serious Crime Branch said CCTV footage showed two hooded men coming to the house at around 7.45pm on the night of the killing.
The first man opened the door for the second man, who was carrying a long barrelled shotgun. Less than 10 seconds later, the footage showed the men running away from the house after they had murdered Mr Johnston.
Mr Boyce said Mr Johnston's family have been "devastated" by his death.
"Not only did they lose Raymond in the most brutal fashion, but his partner and her daughter also witnessed his horrific murder," he said.
"The trauma of witnessing such a cold, clinical and brutal killing will be etched in their memories for the rest of their lives. They didn’t deserve this and there is absolutely no justification for murdering Raymond."
He said Arm na Poblachta were directly involved in the killing.
"We need to identify the perpetrators and take them off the streets in order to prevent further murders from taking place," he said.
"I am asking people living in the Glenbawn area to search their memories and consciences. Try to recall where you were on the day before Valentine’s Day, did you see Raymond that Tuesday, did you see the gunmen approach his house?
"We have made arrests and carried out searches as part of this investigation and we are making progress, however I would plead with the community to help us take that next step to unmask these killers."
Believed to be a relatively small group, Arm na Phoblachta is understood to include former members of other paramilitary organisations.
In November last year the organisation claimed responsibility for leaving an EFP (explosively formed projectile) in the Poleglass area.
The armour piercing horizontal device was discovered after a three-day security operation in the area.
Last month the PSNI also linked explosives found during searches in the Benburb area of Co Tyrone to the group.
Police can be contacted on 101 or via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111