Religious leaders 'great shock and a sense of disbelief' at attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell
RELIGIOUS leaders have spoke of the "great shock and a sense of disbelief" at the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell.
In a joint statement, the Catholic and Church of Ireland Archbishops of Armagh condemned the attack.
Archbishop Eamon Martin and Archbishop John McDowell said: "It is with great shock and a sense of disbelief that we have learned of the horrific gun attack on a member of the PSNI in Omagh.
"It is impossible to find appropriate words even to describe let alone condemn such an act of depraved violence against a police officer who, as a public servant, works for the protection and well-being of the whole community.
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"Our thoughts and prayers at this time, along with those of our parishioners, are with the officer, and with his colleagues, family and friends.
"As the Catholic and Protestant Archbishops of Armagh, we are united in our condemnation of this abhorrent attack on someone serving our community.
"Regardless of who they think they are, the individuals who planned and carried out this shooting represent a deep seated criminal threat to the health and peace of our society and it is important that we do everything in our power to prevent such things from ever happening again."
Dr John Kirkpatrick, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, also said it is "difficult to find the words to describe the sense of anger and outrage felt by so many at this awful and appalling act".
"Serving the community by day then serving the community off-duty coaching young people, we lift Detective Chief Inspector Caldwell up in prayer, praying also for his family, his colleagues and the children who witnessed this horror," he said.
"We owe a great debt to those who serve in the police service to keep us, and our way of life, safe.
"May he, his family and colleagues know the love, strength and comfort of the Lord Jesus Christ at this time and how what the PSNI does day in and day out is much valued."
Rev David Nixon, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, said it was "an appalling act of evil".
"My prayers and the prayers of the Methodist people on this island are with his family," he said.
"I am also mindful of the effect of this shooting on those who, in the past or currently, faithfully serve their communities as part of the security forces. They and their families have our support and prayers at this time.
"All people of good will share an on-going responsibility to stand against violence whatever its source and to work for a society marked by peace, in which children never again are forced to witness acts of horrendous violence."