Detectives investigating the execution of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll were last night continuing to question two men over the shooting.
The two men, aged 17 and 37, were arrested in the Craigavon area yesterday afternoon during a number of police searches.
Constable Carroll (48) from Banbridge died after gunmen opened fire on his police vehicle during a call out to the Lismore Manor estate in Craigavon on Monday evening.
The Tactical Support Group (TSG) officer was the driver of the second response vehicle which was sent to the estate following a distressed call from a woman who had a window broken in her home.
As they pulled up, around 45 minutes after the initial call, gunmen fired a number of shots at the vehicle. One of those shots penetrated the back window of Constable Carroll’s car, fatally injuring him. Two other officers who were in the car escaped unhurt.
Around a dozen Land Rovers piled into the republican heartland just after lunch yesterday and remained at the scene for a number of hours.
Speaking just metres from the scene of the fatal attack, Chief Superintendent Alan Todd described the overwhelming loss both the PSNI and Constable Carroll’s family were experiencing and appealed to those living in the area to help him catch those responsible.
He said: “In executing his duty, Constable Carroll was murdered. We believe that a
number of shots were fired. One of those shots struck the police vehicle from behind through a rear window, fatally injuring Constable Stephen Carroll.
“As a result of those efforts made by those officers we have colleagues without a workmate, a wife without a husband, a son without a father and grandchildren without their grandfather.
“And on that basis I am making an earnest appeal to the people who live and travel through this area to provide us with any piece information that might help us bring the people who perpetrated this awful crime to justice.”
Mr Todd said the TSG officer had given 23 years of service to the community and would be missed dearly by all those who worked with him.
“It’s a desperate loss and it is one that frankly, in the current circumstances, with the vast support we receive from the vast majority of people in these communities, is even harder to understand.”
Yesterday Security Minister Paul Goggins reassured the Police Federation that the Chief Constable would receive all the financial resources he needed to combat the terrorist threat and track down those responsible for the murders of Constable Carroll and two soldiers at Massereene Army barracks at the weekend.
“Obviously in light of what has happened we have expressed our concerns about the ongoing security situation,” federation chairman Terry Spence said.
Constable Carroll’s murder has led to renewed insistence that PSNI officers will not be deterred from their work |despite the heightened security threat.