Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Probe launched after man shot by police officer

A man was shot and injured by police after reports that a vehicle had been stolen by a thief armed with a petrol bomb.

The shooting happened in the Gilford area of Co Down at 5am on Saturday when police found the vehicle and fired a shot at its driver.

The Police Ombudsman is now investigating the incident.

The man suffered a wound to his abdomen and is in hospital, where police said his condition is not thought to be life-threatening.

Police were called at 4.30am after a Range Rover was stolen from a house in the Tullygally area of Craigavon, Co Armagh, by a man who threatened the occupant of the property with a petrol bomb.

Officers in a patrol car spotted the stolen vehicle in Gilford shortly after 5am.

A police spokesman said: “One shot was discharged by a police officer, striking the driver of the vehicle, who has been taken to hospital with an injury to his abdomen.”

Sinn Fein Assembly member for the Upper Bann area, John O'Dowd, said he had serious concerns over the police decision to shoot the man in the stolen car.

“This individual was clearly involved in criminality and we must also bear in mind the distress of the family he threatened,” he said.

The Sinn Fein representative said the full details had yet to be established, but he questioned the use of a firearm.

“It is completely unacceptable for the PSNI to fire live rounds in what was essentially a stolen car incident,” he said.

“This incident happened in daylight hours. There are numerous other non-lethal options available to stop stolen cars and indeed apprehend unarmed people running from a situation like this.

“This incident clearly could have resulted in the death of the driver of the Range Rover and it is now important that the Police Ombudsman begins his investigation and completes it speedily in an open and transparent way.”

The Police Ombudsman's office said it had begun an investigation into the shooting.

A spokesman said: “Police Ombudsman investigators have been at the scene, which has been forensically examined, and have been conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area.”

The Ombudsman confirmed the case had been referred to it by the PSNI for independent investigation.

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