Belfast Telegraph

Belfast man left fighting for his life after being shot in the face

By Nevin Farrell and Amanda Ferguson

A man who ran screaming into a street after being shot in the face was described by police as being in a serious condition last night.

The man in his 50s was shot in the St James' Mews area, off the Antrim Road in north Belfast, at around 9pm.

He was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where a spokeswoman said he was being assessed by doctors.

The victim lives with his partner and they have a baby, although it is not known if the child was in the house.

One resident said: "I just heard one gunshot and then saw a man coming out to the garden screaming and holding his face.

"He then went back into the house, I could see a hole in his face when he was in the ambulance, he was able to walk into the ambulance."

Two men were said to have been involved in the shooting. Police sealed off streets around the area last night close to the front and rear of the property.

Another resident said: "The man is not originally from this area but from Turf Lodge and had been living up here a couple of years.

"His wife died of cancer a number of years ago and he has another partner who is a lot younger than him and they have a child who is about one or two."

A woman said: "The police were round asking if anybody saw anything. It was a fella who was shot in the face. I just go to work and come back and close the door I don't really bother.

"For somebody to come and do something like that and they have a wee baby, a wee boy about two. I think it just him, her and the wee baby live there. I hope he is OK, I wouldn't like something like that to happen with a wee child in the house."

A man said: "There are three people who live in the house and they keep themselves to themselves." Last night at the scene at St James' Mews the area around a house was sealed off. The street was virtually in darkness as local people said the street lights have not been working for a number of weeks.

North Belfast Sinn Fein councillor JJ Magee condemned the shooting and said: "I have no information but no matter what the reason it is wrong and the community don't want it. It is wrong and it shouldn't be happening no matter what happened."

In a separate incident in north Belfast, a 50-year-old man was left fighting for his life in hospital after he sustained serious head and leg injuries.

The violent incident happened at Brae Hill Park in the Ballysillan area during the early hours of yesterday A man in his 40s was arrested after police responded to reports of a fight.

A car was also taken away for forensic examination and Brae Hill Park was closed as a police investigation got under way.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust described the man's condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital as critical.

Detective Sergeant Kenneth Leckey said: "Detectives are working to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident which has left a 50-year-old man critically ill in hospital.

"Police received a report of an altercation in the street at around 2am, and when officers arrived at the scene discovered a man with head and leg injuries.

"First aid was administered by officers until the arrival of an ambulance which took the casualty to a nearby hospital. A man in his 40s was arrested at the scene and a car has been taken away for forensic examination."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the violence was "deeply concerning. Brae Hill is a quiet residential area and this incident has been shocking for residents locally and in the wider Ballysillan area," he said.

PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnson described it as a "tragic and horrific incident".

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