Belfast Telegraph

Police hailed for reactions as gunman shot at patrol

By Brendan McDaid

The PSNI is hunting the gunman who opened fire as officers examined a stolen vehicle, narrowly missing both police and residents.

A number of residents in the Glen area of Londonderry were at the scene when the shooting started at around 10pm on Wednesday.

Dissident republicans are suspected of being behind the attack in which at least one bullet hit a police vehicle.

It’s suspected they used the stolen car to lure police into the area for an ambush.

Forensic officers were at the scene of the shooting on the Glen Road yesterday to examine the police car, the stolen vehicle and the surrounding area.

Meanwhile, Army explosives experts were examining a vehicle which may have been abandoned by the gunmen less than a mile away, near St Anne’s Primary School on Upper Nassau Street.

PSNI District Commander Stephen Martin praised the officers at the scene for helping to prevent local people from being injured or killed.

Mr Martin said: “Thankfully no police officers were injured, although a police vehicle was struck at least once.

“The reports I have heard are that the officers immediately acted in a professional way — their training kicked in.

“They immediately showed concern for the members of the public who were in their company and ensured they had cover.”

Police said they had no doubt those who opened fire on officers were intent on murder.

Mr Martin said the attack “certainly bears the hallmarks of an attack by those small number of republicans who are out of step with the wishes of the whole community”.

Alliance Foyle representative Keith McGrellis described the incident as attempted murder.

“These police officers were just doing their job — to protect and serve our community,” he said.

“This was clearly attempted murder. If you fire a gun at anybody, you are trying to kill them.”

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan yesterday added his voice to the cross-community chorus of condemnation.

Branding the shooting “cowardly”, Mr Durkan, who lives nearby, said: “We must also all unite in offering our support to the entire policing family who are under threat at this time.”

Sinn Fein councillor for the area Maeve McLaughlin said: “As an elected representative I know people want the police to be in the area dealing with incidents such as anti-community activity, car crime, burglaries, and drugs.

“I am calling on whoever was responsible for a number of incidents there last night, which involved setting fire to a stolen car and the subsequent disruption to the lives of the local community, to come forward and justify it, and bring these futile actions to an end.”

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