Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Trio escape injury after gun attack on house

A police forensics officer at the scene in Ballykeel estate, Ballymena, after shots were fired at a house
A bullet hole in a window of the property

Police were monitoring a loyalist estate in Co Antrim last night following a gun attack in which three people narrowly escaped injury.

There was a high security presence in the Orkney Drive area of Ballymena’s Ballykeel estate after several shots were fired at a house around 12.15am yesterday. Neighbours said they heard four or five shots which damaged the front room window of the house.

Three people escaped injury in the attack but were treated for shock afterwards.

The occupants were sweeping up broken glass inside their home yesterday afternoon when the Belfast Telegraph visited the area.

They did not want to be interviewed but are well-known on the estate, where they have lived for a long time.

A number of police vehicles remained in the area yesterday afternoon. Searches were carried out at the scene and a nearby property.

A heavy police presence sealed off the estate and, using the searchlight from a helicopter, they surrounded a house a short distance away. No arrests were made.

A PSNI spokeswoman said a motive had yet to be established and appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

SDLP MLA Declan O'Loan condemned the shooting and said it was fortunate no-one was killed.

He said: “There was still a heavy presence at the scene and the police helicopter was used during the night following the attack.

“Lives could have been lost. One of the results of the troubles is the large quantity of guns available to criminals.”

Mr O'Loan said he was unaware of the motivation for the attack, but said there was “no doubt that loyalist paramilitaries are still active in this immediate area, and in the past drugs activity has been a primary motive for such crimes”.

He added: “It is fortunate that there was no loss of life. I encourage anyone with any knowledge to bring it to the police.”

DUP Assembly member Ian Paisley jnr said he believed the |attack was linked to a dispute |between families.

“There has to be calm at this point and there has to be a recognition that gun law will not resolve any problem in Northern Ireland.

“What we need to do is sit down and resolve a dispute that has been building for some time — we could have had people killed over the last few days,” he said.

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