A pile of bloodied bandages marked the spot on the Shankill Road in Belfast where a man was shot dead today.
The victim's jaw was blown off by masked gunmen in front of young children and he never stood a chance. People at the scene tried to give him first aid but he was dead within minutes.
The bloody throwback to decades of violence in Northern Ireland provoked condemnation.
The man, named locally as Bobby Moffett, is understood to have been a member of the Red Hand Commando (RHC) terrorist group.
Local man Robert Gray said: "People are very bitter, we don't want this all starting up again."
Closed shop shutters and a stationary double-decker bus in the middle of the cordoned off area denoted an eerie calm as white-suited forensics staff with face masks painstakingly gathered evidence.
The Shankill Road was for many years at the centre of the Troubles and saw some of the most brutal of deaths including killings by the Shankill Butchers.
But local people have worked hard to improve the profile of the area and alongside traditional paramilitary murals and memorials to the loyalist dead are banners to members of the 36th Ulster Division who died during the Battle of the Somme.
MP Nigel Dodds alluded to the underlying tensions, saying: "I would urge people to remain calm and remember the fantastic progress we have made. We don't want to go back to these kind of scenes on this or any other road in Northern Ireland."
Outside the nearby Rex Bar, a well-known loyalist drinking spot, men in Glasgow Rangers shirts looked on as police checked the scene for evidence.
A nearby shop selling helium balloons and teddy bears was empty.
But standing outside on the closed street the children were more interested in doing impressions of the dying man falling over.