There was widespread condemnation in Coleraine last night as a 16-year-old boy remained in hospital following a paramilitary-style gun attack.
It is understood the teenage victim, named locally as Ryan Goligher, underwent surgery at Belfast City Hospital in an attempt to save one of his legs following the attack, which happened on Thursday night when two masked men forced their way into a house in the Crescent area of the town, assaulting the youth before shooting him in both legs.
It is believed a loyalist paramilitary group may have been behind the shooting, although a PSNI spokeswoman said detectives are still working to establish a motive for the attack.
His condition was last night described as serious but stable with a PSNI officer involved in the subsequent investigation claiming the boy is lucky to have survived his ordeal.
PSNI Inspector Una Duffin said the 16-year-old was attacked in front of his girlfriend in a “vicious and violent manner”.
No-one answered the front door at the family home last night but a pensioner who lives nearby, and who did not want to be identified, said he heard two bangs at about 10.30pm on Thursday which he believed to be gunshots.
The tight-knit community where the shooting took place was left reeling from the attack.
SDLP MLA John Dallat said: “This was a vile attack which has left a child with serious injuries, a family traumatised and a community outraged.”
Coleraine Alliance councillor Barney Fitzpatrick added: “This incident was akin to some of the horrors of the past that Northern Ireland is attempting to move away from. This attack was brutal and inexcusable.”