A 38-year-old man has died after he was gunned down by a masked gang in the Waterside area of Londonderry.
Police said the victim was at a house in Woodland Avenue in the leafy suburb of Prehen when two masked men burst in just after midnight and fired a number of shots at him before escaping in a light-coloured car.
The critically-injured man was taken to hospital but died a short time later from his injuries.
Local resident Annie Courtney today said people in the Prehen area were stunned to be waking up to news of the shooting this morning.
Mrs Courtney, a former councillor and Mayor of Derry, said: “I think it is dreadful what has happened. It has been a very long time since the last time we had anything like this here.
“The last incident was the murder of a Catholic UDR man shot back in 1985 when I first became a councillor. That was the last time there was anything as dreadful as that.
“We do not know the circumstances of this particular attack but it is dreadful.”
Mayor of Derry and Waterside councillor Gerard Diver said the close-knit community has been left stunned by the shooting.
“The details are very, very scant. Last night masked men broke into a house in the Prehen area of Derry, which is on the outskirts on the way towards Newbuildings, and basically assassinated a 38-year-old man,” he said.
“The police are at the very, very early stages of putting the investigation together and I have spoken with the police commander this morning.
“It looks like this was a particularly grotesque and brutal shooting, with masked men, and is something that harks back to the worst days of the Troubles in terms of the assassination.
“My reaction is one of complete horror. I think most people in Derry will be genuinely horrified and shocked to wake up to this news this morning,” he added.
“My thoughts are obviously with the man’s family this morning who are trying to come to terms with that loss and in such a horrific manner.”
Police — who have sealed off the scene of the shooting — today appealed for anyone who noticed the car or saw anything suspicious in the area at around midnight or shortly afterwards to contact them on 0845 6008000.