Belfast Telegraph

Family targeted in Belfast gun attack may be forced to leave

A west Belfast couple have said they are considering leaving their family home after bullets were fired at their car.

Martin and Teresa Doherty said they had been left in a state of shock after the chilling incident, which occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The couple had returned to their Beechmount Link home in the Falls Road area from the vigil in memory of pensioner Sammy Crawford, who died during a robbery at a nearby shop, when the shots were fired.

Former community worker Mr Doherty described how he heard the nine shots and ran out of the house to check on the neighbours, believing it to be someone else’s house. He said it was around 10 minutes before he realised the shots had been fired into his own car.

The bullets had been fired into the back window and travelled through the car and out the front window, he said. The Renault Clio, along with bullet cartridges found at the scene, have since been taken away for forensic examination.

But the couple said it was their sons they were most worried about — all four had been in the house at the time.

“It was them I was most frightened for,” said Teresa, visibly upset.

“They’re sleeping now but they were traumatised last night.

“We’ve just got to the end of our tether. We haven’t slept at all.”

This was the most serious attack of a number of incidents in recent months, they said. But the family are at a loss to understand why they are being targeted.

“The only thing I know is someone wants us out and it’s up to them to tell us what their problem is,” Martin said.

“Somebody wants us forced out and they will probably get their way because the kids are more important then anything else.” The couple said they were reluctant to leave their family home when “we haven’t done anything”, but said: “At the end of the day, if we move we will be safe and they will be happy.”

“What are they going to do the next time? Anything could come through this window and hit anybody sitting here,” Martin said.

The parents of two sets of boy twins, they said they were a quiet family who kept to themselves.

One of their 20-year-old sons has won community awards for his youth work, and the youngest pair are still at school.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said investigations were ongoing into the incident, but said detectives were looking for a man seen running from the area at the time. He is described as being 5ft 9ins to 5ft 11ins, slim and wearing a military-style plain green coat.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police.

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