Police reveal 'rare' weapon clue in the hunt for killer of Jock Davison
Detectives hunting the killer of former IRA commander Jock Davison have revealed he was shot with a type of gun that is extremely rare in Northern Ireland.
Officers believe an Eastern European-manufactured gun called a Makarov was used to kill the 47-year-old, who was gunned down as he walked to work in south Belfast on May 5.
He was shot once from behind before his killer stood over him and shot him four times in the head.
Appearing on BBC Crimewatch last night in a bid to gather information about the murder, Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes said the type of weapon and bullets used in the murder "are extremely rare in Northern Ireland".
"The weapon and bullets used were an Eastern European-type called Makarov. These 9mm bullets are unusual in as much as they will not work in most types of Western handgun. They are a slightly different size and can only be fired using a Makarov-type gun," he said.
Mr Geddes added: "Someone knows about this weapon and its ammunition... we need to get this gun off the streets, and apprehend the killer. "
The Makarov is a Russian semi-automatic pistol. Variants of the gun remain in production in Russia, China and Bulgaria.
The father-of-three was shot as he walked along Welsh Street in the staunchly republican Markets area close to the city centre at 9.09am on Tuesday, May 5.
Witnesses described the gunman as being about 5ft 6ins tall and wearing a dark, hooded rain jacket, Mr Geddes said.
"He made his escape from the scene up an alleyway towards Stanfield Place. We need to know where he went next," the officer added.
Police believe the gunman may have been in the area for some time before the shooting.
"A man fitting a similar description was seen standing at the junction of Welsh Street and McAuley Street at around 8.40am. A similar man was also seen with a red and white carrier bag, holding it with two hands on Welsh Street," said Mr Geddes.
"They may be different people and they may be innocent members of the public. Either way, we need them to come forward so that they can be ruled out of our enquiries."
Police have appealed to anyone who may have parked their car in the Markets before walking to work between 8am and 9am on Tuesday, May 5 to contact them.
"We are appealing for anyone who has any information about the murder, or who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area in the days and weeks leading up to the murder, to contact us. We need to get this gun off the streets, and apprehend the killer," said Mr Geddes.
A number of arrests have been made in connection with the murder, however to date nobody has been charged.
As the IRA officer commanding in Belfast, Davison was one of the best-known republican figures in the city. He backed Sinn Fein's peace process strategy following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and was employed with the Markets Development Association as a community worker.
He was allegedly involved in the fight that led to the death of Belfast man Robert McCartney in January 2005 and was among three IRA members expelled following an internal investigation in the wake of the death.
He was questioned by police but released without charge.