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Clay pigeon gun tragedy victim named as Terry Fitzsimmons

By Allan Preston

Published 26/07/2016

Victim: Terry Fitzsimmons
Victim: Terry Fitzsimmons

A man in his 60s from Co Down who died during a clay pigeon shoot on Sunday has been named as Terry Fitzsimmons.

It is understood the grandfather was from the Ballykinlar area, near Downpatrick, and had been taking part in a shooting competition in Lough Money Forest near the town.

Police inquiries into the exact circumstances of the death are still continuing.

PSNI Detective Inspector Will Tate said in a statement: "We will be conducting a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this death, but initial enquiries would indicate this to be a tragic accident."

It still remains unclear who fired the weapon thought to have killed Mr Fitzsimmons

But yesterday, a source close to the shooting club told the Belfast Telegraph: "We have been told that he accidentally discharged his own (gun) and shot himself. It was a freak accident."

SDLP councillor for Downpatrick Gareth Sharvin was yesterday reported as saying another member of the club had been holding a loaded gun when he fell down and inadvertently shot Mr Fitzsimmons in the head.

The death has led to calls for a closer look at safety regulations for clay pigeon shooting.

SDLP MLA Colin McGrath MLA said yesterday: "This appears to have been a tragic accident, and my thoughts and prayers are with the man's family at this time.

"I will be contacting the PSNI and council to ensure that a full and robust safety investigation is conducted to see if any lessons can be drawn from this terrible event to ensure that such an accident doesn't occur again in the future and to maximise safety at such events."

His party colleague Margaret Ritchie, MP for South Down, offered her condolences to the family. "I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death in Downpatrick of a man at the scene of a clay pigeon shoot," she said.

"Undoubtedly, the family and friends of this man are experiencing unspeakable grief, and my deepest sympathies are with them at this time."

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