North Belfast Shooting condemned
Published 16/02/2013 | 16:11
The shooting of two men in Northern Ireland near dozens of onlookers has been condemned as reckless and callous.
The men who were hit in the attack at around 7.30pm last night in the Oldpark Road area of North Belfast are in a serious but stable condition.
It is believed the gunman fired up to 10 shots at a 24-year-old man standing beside a Seat Toledo car.
A 22-year-old man sitting inside the car at the time also sustained gunshot wounds.
Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn, the PSNI's North Belfast Area Commander, said women and children were nearby at the time of the incident.
"This was an utterly reckless attack with up to 40 members of the public, including women and children, in close proximity," he said.
"Two people have been very seriously injured but we are lucky that we are not dealing with many more casualties today."
Chief Inspector Freeburn said the attack was "unacceptable" and no one had the right to put the safety of so many people at risk.
"An investigation into this incident was launched immediately and an inquiry team will now work to ascertain the exact details and circumstances of this shooting," he said.
"We will do everything we can to find those responsible and bring them before the courts.
"The help of the local community is vital in helping us create a clear picture of this attack and we would ask for their support as we conduct our enquiries.
"I would appeal to anyone with information to contact detectives in North Belfast on 0845 600 8000."
Last night, Sinn Fein Stormont MLA Gerry Kelly said: "This is the second shooting in North Belfast within the last week and has to be condemned. There is no place for these gun gangs in our community and the people do not want them."
"This shooting damages the community and the people behind them need to stop."
SDLP councillor Nichola Mallon said she was repulsed by the attack.
"The spread of gunshots in a busy built-up residential area in the early evening shows a reckless regard for people living here," she said.
"This latest incident represents not just an attack on the two men who have been shot but on the wider community. Those that resort to such cowardly and violent attacks have no place and serve no purpose for the people of North Belfast.
"We are seeing a worrying disregard for human life and an escalation of street violence which is totally unacceptable."