CONOR MCKEE WAS shot dead in his north Belfast home two weeks ago tonight.
The 31-year-old father was found at his Glenpark Street home by his mother. He had been shot a number of times with a shotgun.
Tonight police are returning to the scene as part of continuing efforts to gather as much information about the shooting as possible.
The officer leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Justyn Galloway, said the investigation was progressing:
We have had a very positive response from Conor’s friends who have come forward with information after our appeal immediately after his murder. In addition, a person who phoned police shortly after Conor was shot has been identified and spoken to.
“Our enquiries in the local community have established that Conor was seen in the area of Oldpark Road between 5pm and 6pm on the evening of Thursday 7 January. We believe he was shot in his home at Glenpark Street at 6.15pm.
“I am appealing to anyone who saw Conor walking from the Oldpark area back to Glenpark Street between 6pm and 6.15pm, either on his own or with someone, to contact us.
“I am also appealing to anyone who saw a man in the entry beside Conor’s home at 5 Glenpark Street around this time. He was wearing a dark coloured hoodie with a front pocket open at both ends and other dark clothing. He was of medium build, between 5ft 7ins – 5ft 9ins tall and was wearing the hood up.”
‘The drug issue will not be resolved down the barrel of a gun’
In the first two weeks of the investigation by the Serious Crime Branch, detectives have interviewed more than 100 witnesses, visited over 250 homes, conducted four searches and two people who were arrested remain on bail pending further enquiries.
Galloway continued: “Our enquiries to date indicate that this was a drug related murder. From previous experience, such an assessment can cause people to regard the killing as in some way acceptable or inevitable.
This is a mistake and, I believe, dangerous perspective for people to adopt. Drugs are wrecking lives in our community. The way to deal with the issue is through a co-ordinated, multi-agency approach involving health, education and law enforcement working alongside individuals, families and communities. It will not be resolved down the barrel of a gun.
“Our enquiries to date and the intelligence picture at my disposal have combined to make a number of main lines of enquiry in Conor’s murder. These include the involvement of paramilitaries and individuals linked to organised crime.
“I have no doubt this assessment will prompt various reactions in the community but it is important to be clear that police remain open to all lines of enquiry and we will go where the evidence takes us.
Just because Conor was involved in drugs does not mean the Police Service will walk away from what happened to him, or his mum, his dad, his partner and their children.
We are committed to bringing the persons responsible before a court; we are committed to taking the weapon used off the streets so that it cannot be used again.
“The reality is, however, that we cannot do this alone. We need the help of the community. We need people who saw something, who know something, to come forward and get that information to the police. We will play our part, if people decide to help Conor, his family and, ultimately, themselves.”
Anyone with information can contact detectives at Musgrave police station on the non-emergency 101 number or provide information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.