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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 21 October, 2019

Shots fired at police officers were 'random and indiscriminate'

PSNI said it was only “good luck” that no children in the surrounding area were hurt or injured.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland have said that it is only by “good luck” that no children or passersby were injured or killed when a number of shots were fired randomly and indiscriminately in Dunmurry yesterday afternoon.

The incident occurred as PSNI officers arrived to answer a call about a burglary at Foxes Glen. Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter said the culprits intended to kill police but that they could have hurt anyone in the area.

“The three officers who responded to the call for assistance yesterday had a lucky escape. They were badly shaken by the incident but they reported for duty this morning and are back at work.”

Baxter appealed to anyone with information about activity in the wooded area beside Foxes Glen yesterday morning to contact the station. It is understood the shots were fired from that location.

Addressing concerns about the length of time it took police to return to the area after the shooting, he said, “Previous experience has indicated that on many occasions where an attack has been made on police there is often a secondary or additional means of attack in the same area.

As a police presence after such an attack can in itself constitute or increase a risk to the community, on many occasions the decision is taken to reduce that risk by removing police officer from the immediate area.

“We do not believe that the police withdrawal yesterday increased the risk to the community. We also believe that it did not adversely affect the police investigation.”

A 26-year-old man is currently in custody, being questioned in relation to yesterday’s events. A number of searches carried out in the Belfast area have yielded a number of replica firearms and a small quantity of ammunition. They are due to be sent for forensic and ballistic examination.

Man arrested over attempted murder of 3 police officers

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