Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Derry gun attack was sectarian, says victim

A man whose home was hit eight times in a midnight shooting believes it was a sectarian attack.

The shocked resident of the bungalow was one of three people who were in their beds when the bullets were pumped through their living room window.

All three residents — a woman, her partner and her son — escaped injury in the attack.

The gunman and an accomplice were spotted fleeing the scene on a motorbike.

The vehicle was torched in a nearby estate shortly afterwards.

The Jeffrey Avenue victims are one of a handful of Catholic families living in the predominantly Protestant Brigade area of the Waterside in Londonderry.

A man who did not want to be identified said: “We were in bed at the time. Just after 12am we heard these shots being fired through the window. There were eight shots fired at the window. This is a quiet area, you wouldn’t normally see anything like this.”

He added: “I think it was sectarian.”

Detectives carried out door-to-door enquiries in the street yesterday to gather information from neighbours as they investigated the incident.

When asked if a sectarian motive was being examined, a PSNI spokeswoman said that all lines of inquiry remained open. She confirmed that a motorcycle had been found burnt out in nearby Lincoln Courts area.

DUP councillor Drew Thompson described those behind the attack as “clowns”, adding: “I would condemn any attack like this, irrespective of where they are coming from or what the idea is behind it.

“There is no place for that in our society; there never was at any time and certainly not now.

“Most of the people down in there are elderly people and I am surprised and shocked that this has happened.”

Mr Thompson added: “These are the clowns we have running about at the moment and an easy target is an easy target as far as they are concerned.”

SDLP councillor Gerard Diver, whose home was targeted by loyalist paramilitaries in a pipe bomb attack in 2001, said his reaction was one of horror. “Anybody who is going to fire a weapon through a window of somebody’s house doesn’t care too much for anything that happens to the people inside or their neighbours,” he said.

“Somebody could have been killed or severely injured here and we need to be thankful nobody was. I know what it is like being attacked in your own home and it can be very traumatising and have a longer term impact on people. They have my sympathy.”

The PSNI spokeswoman asked anyone who witnessed the incident or saw the motorcycle to contact them at Strand Road on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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