The father of a man shot dead in Belfast has described the killing as an “execution”.
Danny McKay, 36, was hit several times - at least once in the face - by a gunman who fired from a hijacked car which was later found burned out in the west of the city.
The shooting happened in the Longlands Road area of Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, last night.
Police have made no comment about the attack, but local people believe Mr McKay may have been targeted because of a row over drugs, possibly involving dissident republicans.
Mr McKay, a father-of-one from the Whitewell Road area, was shot dead at around 8.30pm in the home he shared with his fiancee Laura and her children, Kara (4) and Louis (7).
It is understood he was alone in the house in the nationalist Longlands estate at the time.
His fiancee, who was in a shop adjoining their house, saw two men run out of their house and get into a car which sped out of the street. Mr McKay died at the scene around an hour later as paramedics battled to save his life.
Mr McKay’s father described his son as a “lovely fella”, who had battled ill-health for nearly two years.
He said: “No-one deserves that. Daniel has a wee girl of 12. He was trying to get better. He had lots of problems with diabetes and his lungs. It’s an execution.” The grieving father added: I don’t want to say too much in anger.”
Nora Dunn, the mother of the victim’s fiancee, said her daughter was in a shop next door to their home when she heard two or more shots ring out.
“Laura says she heard the shots and thought it was fireworks,” Ms Dunn said.
“She came out of the shop and saw two fellas get into a car. When she ran into the house he was lying on the sofa.”
Part of the Longlands estate remained cordoned off last night.
A crowd of around 30 stunned relatives and neighbours gathered in the street as police and forensic officers carried out their work. Neighbours were also comforting Mr McKay’s distraught fiancee as she spoke to police.
Ms Dunn added: “We are just numb. We don’t know what it is about.
“Laura cannot believe it has happened. They had been together for two years and they had been engaged over a year. They got engaged in Spain.”
A neighbour at the scene added: “Danny looked like a gentle giant. He would not pass you, he was a nice guy.
“He was from around here, from the Whitewell Road area. He had lived here a couple of years with Laura.”
One of two women at the scene added: “I have just heard about it.
“We were speaking to the girl in the shop. She heard the shots at about 8.30pm or 8.40pm and she thought it was fireworks.
“Everybody’s in shock here.”
Police did not give any motive for the murder last night.