The mother of a nine-year-old boy has told how a man in a balaclava pointed a gun at her son and his friends at a street party in north Belfast.
Ben White and his pals were playing in Woodvale Drive off Twaddell Avenue during a barbecue on Sunday night when a silver car drew up at the top of the street and the driver threatened the boys.
His mum Amanda says he has not slept in his own bed since the incident and another young boy caught up in the incident is too terrified to come home, preferring instead to stay with relatives in another part of the city.
Taking up the story, Ben explained: “Me and my two friends were walking along and we heard a skid.
“We looked up and there was a man in a balaclava in a car.
“He drove up to us and shouted ‘yo!’
“He gave us the middle finger and then he pointed the gun at us. I was scared. I thought he was going to hurt us.
“One of my friends won’t even go home.”
Worried Amanda said that the driver had purposely picked on a weak target.
“He was obviously driving up and down looking for a quiet street, this place is out of the way and we were bothering nobody.
“Ben told the police it was a pistol-type gun, we don’t know if it was real or not, but that is not the point.
“He saw the pictures of the violence in Ardoyne and now thinks those are the bad boys coming to try and find out where he lives. That is not something that a nine-year-old child should be thinking about.
“My two boys have never been allowed to see or witness anything like that. One of the other children who was there is now too scared to go home and is staying with his uncle.
“Ben has been in my bed every night since it happened — he is good and brave about it during the daytime but at night the fear comes.”
Police have appealed for information about the incident.