Kevin McGuigan murder suspect tried to run from house with pistol, court told
A man charged with possession of a pistol by detectives investigating the murder of a former IRA man remains a suspect in the killing, a court has heard.
Patrick Gerard Fitzpatrick (53) was remanded in custody at Lisburn Magistrates Court following his arrest and charge by officers hunting the killers of father-of-nine Kevin McGuigan.
The former republican prisoner was gunned down in east Belfast in a suspected feud between former IRA members last week.
During the remand hearing before deputy district judge Philip Mateer, a detective sergeant told the court Fitzpatrick, from the Lagmore area of west Belfast, was under suspicion of involvement in the murder.
"He remains a suspect in the murder of Kevin McGuigan," the officer said. The officer said that when police approached his house on Tuesday to make the arrest, the accused attempted to escape out the back with a "sophisticated" Glock pistol and holster.
He said police were also at the rear of the property, so Fitzpatrick went back inside. Officers forcibly entered the premises and arrested the suspect in a downstairs bedroom. They found a pistol, ammunition and magazine in the room with him, the officer told the court.
He said the Glock's identification markings had been removed. "This shows a forensic awareness," he said.
Fitzpatrick has been charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Mr McGuigan (53) was hit a number of times at point-blank range in front of his wife Dolores outside their home in Comber Court in the Short Strand last Wednesday.
He was suspected by some in the republican movement of involvement in the murder of former IRA leader Gerard "Jock" Davison in the nearby Markets area three months ago.
Objecting to a defence application for bail, the detective cited concerns Fitzpatrick would abscond or commit further offences. Judge Mateer refused the bail application and Fitzpatrick was remanded in custody to appear before the same court, via video link, next month.
Two men aged 26 and 49, arrested on Wednesday in connection with the McGuigan murder probe were last night released unconditionally. Three other men, including IRA Shankill bomber Sean Kelly, along with a woman, have been released unconditionally.