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Investigation launched after off-duty police officer confronted at home by masked man with shot-gun

The attempted murder is being investigated by the PSNI in Fermanagh.

Image: Niall Carson

THE ATTEMPTED MURDER of an off-duty police officer is being investigated by the PSNI in Fermanagh. 

Detective Chief Inspector Julie Mullan said the male police officer was at home in the Rosscah/Crevenish Road area in Kesh at around 2am this morning when he noticed movement outside his property.

When he opened his front door to investigate, the officer was confronted by a masked man aiming a shotgun at him.

The suspect, who is described as being dressed entirely in black, made off on foot across nearby fields close to the local football club.

“We firmly believe that this disturbing incident was a failed attempt to kill a local police officer. There are no words to describe those who would creep through the dark of night with nothing but death and destruction on their minds. Their actions stand in stark contrast to those officers, including their intended target, who everyday police our communities with dignity, respect and courtesy.

“Just this week Neighbourhood Policing Team and Local Policing Team officers across Fermanagh and Northern Ireland were out in their communities attending events, giving back to their community and looking forward to continuing to work with them for another year. Never could we have imagined that this is what the New Year would bring,” he said. 

Mullan said police are keeping an open mind as to the motivation behind the attack however a primary line of inquiry is that organised criminal elements may be responsible.

A full investigation has now been launched, with Mullan assuring the community it will be “thorough and robust”.

“I would take this opportunity to appeal for the help of the people of Kesh and further afield in identifying this would-be killer. Were you in the Rosscah/Crevenish Road area early this morning? Did you see anyone or anything you felt was suspicious? Did you capture dashcam footage? Do you have any information about this crime? No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, please get in touch,” he said. 

The incident has been condemned by political parties in the North. 

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SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has condemned the attempted murder of the off-duty officer, stating that in the week that talks to restore power sharing resume, politicians have a duty to send a message to those intent on dragging us back that we are united in the face of these attacks.

“I can’t imagine how this officer must have felt, opening his door in the early hours of the morning to be confronted by a man with a shotgun. My thoughts are with him and his family at what must be a distressing time.

“Those behind this attack need to understand, and political leaders must make them understand, that we will stand united against any attempt to drag us back to violence or to disrupt the rule of la,” he said.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster said the “brazen attempted murder of a police officer in Kesh, Co. Fermanagh is an outrageous attack on a public servant and must be condemned”.

“It is a reminder of the threat and danger that police officers face on a daily basis as they try to protect our community,” she said. 

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