Northern Ireland news

Attempted murder in north Belfast condemned

Police carry out a search around the area in the Westland estate in north Belfast where a man in his 30's was shot in the back. Picture by Mal McCann.
Staff reporter

POLICE have said they treating the shooting of a man in north Belfast as attempted murder.

The victim, who is aged in his 30s, was shot in the back at Westland Way area at around 12.20am yesterday.

He was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries.

The gunman, who was wearing a hood and mask, is believed to have fled the scene on foot in the direction of Westland Road.

PSNI forensic teams combed the area for clues and there continued to be a police presence in the area yesterday.

They have also appealed for anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything, or who may have dashcam or other footage, to contact them.

When asked if detectives had identified a possible motive for the shooting, a PSNI spokeswoman said: "At this time, enquiries remain ongoing."

North Belfast DUP MLA Brian Kingston described the shooting as "appalling".

“Any incident in which guns are used on our streets is reckless and deeply upsetting for the entire local community. Those responsible must be brought to justice. I appeal to anyone who can assist the police investigation to bring forward any information that they may have.”

UUP representative Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston said it was "disgraceful that guns are being used on the streets of Belfast and should be unequivocally condemned."

Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín said:

“The shooting of a man in Westland Way this morning was wrong, and I condemn it.

“There is absolutely no place for guns on our streets.

 

“I would appeal to anyone with information on this shooting to bring it forward to the PSNI.”

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said: "There can be no place for violence or guns on our streets. This is a residential area with families young and old who just want to go about their lives in peace without having to deal with incidents like this."

There had been relative calm in loyalist areas in north Belfast in recent years.

In 2018 the attempted murder of a man was linked to an ongoing feud within loyalism.

Shots were fired at the man as he walked in the Ballysillan area.

It was later reported that the attack was linked to the murder of former UDA brigadier John Boreland in August 2016.

Mr Boreland was a close associate of the former UDA boss Andre Shoukri.

The pair were expelled from the mainstream UDA in 2006 and were later aligned to a loyalist faction that attempted to remove the organisation's leadership in the north of the city.

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