The family of a Londonderry businessman shot on Wednesday night have revealed that their brother was never approached or warned about “legal highs” he was selling in his Waterloo Street shop.
Raymond Coyle (52) was shot three times in the legs after a gunman entered his shop around 5.30pm on. Wednesday
Drugs known as “legal highs” can mirror the effects of some banned substances but have not been included in controlled substance legislation.
Dissident republicans have previously threatened people selling legal highs in Northern Ireland.
Speaking yesterday the shot man’s brother Joe said: “We are shocked and appalled that something like this can happen.
“One of the things that really gets to us is the sheer brutality of the shooting.
“The gunman shot Raymond twice and walked out.
“As he left Raymond said something like ‘b*****d’ and he returned and shot him again,” said Mr Coyle.
“My brother was never approached or warned about selling that particular product.
“No-one ever came to him and said stop selling that stuff or we will shoot.
“As he said himself last night, if someone had he would have ceased to sell it.”
Mr Coyle said that the family were “angry and frustrated” after the shooting. “The next question has to be where does this stop?
“If they can shoot my brother for selling legal items do they start shooting every barman in town who are also selling what could be termed as legal highs?
“The stuff that Raymond is selling is available over the internet and even the police had checked it out and they had no concerns about it.
“Previously some stuff Raymond had in stock was made illegal and so he sent it straight back.”
Mr Coyle comes from a very well-known republican family in Derry and the family believe that he was deliberately targeted due to who he was rather than what he was selling.
Joe Coyle said: “If these people were that interested in this stuff there are three outlets in Derry yet they picked on our brother.
“We believe that this was deliberate and had more to do with the talks at Stormont than anything Raymond was selling.
“These people sat and watched Sinn Fein mixing it with Prime Ministers and they decided to show that while Sinn Fein might be kingpins at Stormont, that they rule the streets.”
Police investigating the shooting have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.