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Man, 79, arrested over shooting

A man in his late 70s has been arrested by police investigating a shooting in Co Down.

The 79-year-old suspect was detained shortly after 4am this morning in connection with the attack in Newry.

The victim, aged 50, was hit in the stomach and knee and was left fighting for his life in hospital.

It is understood at least two masked gunmen targeted the victim in the garden of his home at Parkhead Crescent, close to the staunchly republican Derrybeg estate, just after 6.30pm last night.

He was rushed to the nearby Daisy Hill hospital where he had emergency surgery. The man has since been transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital where a spokeswoman described his condition as critical.

The motive for the attack was unclear but at this stage it is not believed to be paramilitary-related.

Dominic Bradley, SDLP Assemblyman for Newry and Armagh, said the shooting was unjustified.

"I was shocked to hear of the shooting of a man at Parkhead Cresent.

"I totally and utterly condemn this action. It cannot be justified by any aims, objectives or strategies," he said. "I would appeal to anyone with information to bring it to the police without delay."

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detectives and uniformed officers remain at the scene, which is sealed off. Forensic examiners have been carrying out a detailed search of the area.

Sinn Fein councillor in the area Charlie Casey also condemned those responsible.

He said: "If someone comes to shoot someone in their home, in the current climate where everyone is trying to work hard towards peace, it has to be totally condemned.

"We thought things like this had disappeared into the past. It is unfortunate and sad and if anyone knows anything about it then they should contact the police."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has appealed for any witnesses to contact CID in Newry or to give information anonymously through the Crimestoppers charity.

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed the suspect was in custody and said he was "helping police with their enquiries".

The man was later released on conditional bail.

A PSNI statement said: "Detectives in Newry have released a man in his 70s arrested in connection with the shooting of a man in the Parkhead Crescent area last night on conditional bail pending further enquiries."

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