Belfast Telegraph

Dissident gun attack victim was ‘shot by appointment’

By Leona O'Neill

The 33-year-old victim of a punishment attack in Londonderry on Tuesday night was shot "by appointment" by dissident republicans.

The man was ordered to come to an alleyway in the Bogside's Lisfannon Park at 9.30pm where he was told to lay on the ground.

He was then shot in the legs and stomach by four masked gunmen.

He told residents who came to his aid that he was from Dungiven, some 20 miles away from the city.

Sinn Fein MLA Karen Mullan said the victim was lucky to be alive.

"This man was told to be at that point at a certain time to be shot," she said.

"Nobody wants to be taken back to those days.

"It is absolutely horrendous that anyone in this day and age is given an appointment to come somewhere to be shot.

"The man was shot four times. He is very lucky to be alive."

Lisfannon Park resident Declan O'Kane said the victim walked past him and into the alley seconds before he was shot.

"I was outside my house and saw the man walking across the street," he said.

"He walked past me and into the alleyway by himself. He just walked into the alleyway like he was going somewhere.

"I just opened my front door and went into my house when I heard four or five shots.

"Then I heard him shouting. I went out and saw him lying at the end of the alleyway.

"My neighbours came rushing over with towels to help stop the bleeding and phoned an ambulance."

Bernadette McCourt ran to the man's aid with bath towels from her home to stem the bleeding and kept him conscious until the ambulance arrived.

"We heard these bangs from the street," she said.

"We thought it was young people dropping the wood from the bonfire.

"My son looked out and saw a man lying on the ground in the alleyway.

"We grabbed a few towels and ran over to him. We were talking to him, asking him if he was alright.

"He said he was from Dungiven and gave us his name.

"My son had the towel up against his stomach wound and I had another one against his leg wound. He was very grey looking and said he felt faint.

"He said he was worried about his legs, but we were more concerned about his stomach wound. The bullet had went in one side and came out the other.

"Another girl had called an ambulance and the dispatcher had told us to keep him talking, not to let him lose consciousness.

"So I kept asking him if he was OK. I asked him what happened and he said he didn't know. He said he didn't smoke and didn't drink, and he didn't know why it happened. He seemed to be aware of what was going on.

"He was scared, he was a really bad colour and he was shaking. He kept dropping his head down and we kept lifting it back up and keeping him with us until the ambulance arrived.

"I just kept asking him questions to keep him awake. I asked him if he was living in Derry. He said he wasn't, he just came down today. He didn't give any reason as to why he was here.

"It was shocking to see. No matter what the man was supposed to have done, it was really hard to see him like that. I couldn't leave him lying there.

"He's someone's son. It upset me."

SDLP councillor John Boyle said that the style of shooting was "a new low and a sinister development".

He added: "It is totally unacceptable for faceless men to demand that any individual turn up at their behest to be shot in this fashion.

"The local community oppose this kind of activity and I condemn it outright.

"The style of the shooting was a new departure, a particularly new low and a sinister development. If you start shooting people in the abdomen, you're not too far away from murdering people."

The PSNI said they were investigating the incident and have appealed for witnesses.

Detective Sergeant Phelan said: "The victim was taken to hospital with wounds to his legs and abdomen.

"His injuries though serious are not believed to be life threatening at this time.

"We believe four masked men were involved in this brutal and horrific attack and we would ask for the community's help in identifying these individuals."

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