Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Fury over 24-hour cordon in shooting probe

Residents have reacted with anger after a police operation which lasted almost 24 hours following a shooting incident involving an off-duty officer.

Police on Thursday refused to confirm whether the officer fired his self-protection weapon after it was discharged at his home in the Springhill area of Bangor.

They also would not disclose the circumstances in which the weapon was fired.

Police sources told the Belfast Telegraph the gun was discharged by the officer.

No one was injured, but the owner of the house received medical attention as a precaution and two men were arrested.

The scene remained sealed-off throughout Thursday as forensic experts searched nearby gardens and streets.

They also sealed off the A2 Belfast Road in both directions and the Springhill Road, causing large tailbacks.

Independent councillor Brian Wilson — who lives close to where the gun was fired — said there was frustration and confusion among residents at the lack of information being passed by police.

He said the Co Down town had been awash with contradictory speculation surrounding the incident.

“It’s extremely strange,” he said. “People don’t understand it, they are confused about what is happening because it’s not the sort of thing that happens in Bangor.

“There certainly is frustration.”

Last night DUP MLA Alex Easton said he had been given very little information from police.

“It’s just a complete mystery,” he said. “It makes you wonder what is going on.”

A police spokesman confirmed the gun fired was the officer’s personal-protection weapon.

“Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding a shooting incident in the Springhill area of Bangor on the evening of Wednesday, December 19,” he said.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman’s Office said it was monitoring, but not investigating, the incident.

The Chief Constable Matt Baggott yesterday met with members of the Policing Board.

Asked if the board was given details of the Bangor incident, chair Brian Rea said it would be “wrong of him” to reveal any information.

He said the board was “allowing the police to get on with it” in regards to their investigation.

Two men — aged 45 and 52 — arrested by police were last night released on bail over the incident at around 7.30pm on Wednesday.

Police removed cordons in the area at round 6.30pm on Thursday evening.

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