Pizza delivery man killed as he chatted with friends
A young father was murdered outside his work while he chatted with three friends.
Kieran McManus (26) – who had a six-year-old son – was shot by a masked gunman at close range.
Mr McManus was gunned down in front of a Domino's Pizza outlet at Kennedy Way in west Belfast where he worked as a delivery driver.
The shooting happened at 11.20pm on Saturday at the Enterprise Centre.
Mr McManus was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.
He was putting pizzas into the back of his car when another man got out of a vehicle and shot him.
It is understood his killer called out his name before firing at him. He then got back into the car and fled the scene.
Three of Mr McManus' friends were close by during the shooting. They were unhurt but badly shaken. A red Vauxhall Astra believed to be linked to the murder was found burned out a short time later in nearby Denewood Park.
In 2010 Mr McManus appeared in court charged in connection with an attack in which a man was set upon with a machete and bat.
The incident, which left the victim requiring extensive surgery, was said to involve rival republican factions.
It took place in Turf Lodge where Mr McManus was originally from. The police officer leading the hunt for Mr McManus' killers confirmed he was familiar to police.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter said: "What happened in Kennedy Way last night was a brutal and ruthless attack which has no place in society.
"Kieran McManus was known to police but whatever Kieran did in his life, nothing justifies this action against him.
"Today, Easter Sunday, we have a mother mourning the loss of her son and I think that's a very sad state of affairs."
Police are still trying to establish a motive and are following a number of lines of inquiry.
Members of the public have already come forward with information.
"Those responsible for this ruthless murder will only be brought before the courts and put behind bars if people with information work with police," Ms Baxter added.
Paul Maskey, Sinn Fein MP for the area, knows Mr McManus's family.
He said there was shock and anger locally.
"A young man was going about his work and somebody has decided that they will take his life from him," he said.
"We are now left with a family without a son, without a brother, and I think it's totally unacceptable and totally shocking."
There was widespread political condemnation of the murder.
Justice Minister David Ford said there was no justification for such an attack, and urged anybody with information to contact police. He stated: "I condemn in the strongest possible terms this callous murder.
"There can be no cause that can justify the taking of a precious human life and no excuse can explain the suffering that results. I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of this young man and also my prayers on this Easter Sunday."
Alex Attwood, SDLP MLA for the area, extended his sympathy to Mr McManus' family.
He added: "At a time of hope in the Christian calendar, this murder is all the more appalling. The sympathy of all will go to a deeply grieving family."