Police: Shooting is child abuse and we need the public's help to stop it
The shooting of a teenager in west Belfast has been condemned as an act of tyranny by a local politician and child abuse by the PSNI.
The 16-year-old youth was shot in the leg in an attack which at Forest Street at 8.45pm on Thursday.
He remains in a stable condition in hospital.
The incident happened less than 24 hours after a man was shot in the leg nearby on the Falls Road.
It prompted the PSNI to repeat its warning that "there is only one police service in west Belfast".
Chief Superintendent Chris Noble condemned the shooting and described those responsible as "predatory criminals".
"Last night saw an attack on a 16-year-old boy," he said.
"Any civilised society would see that for what it is - child abuse.
"It is most definitely not policing or community safety activity.
"The dogs in the street may well know who is responsible, but what I need as the local police commander is for people to come forward and give me any information.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire described the attack on the teenager as "shocking and brutal".
"I will continue to offer all possible support to the PSNI and Department of Justice to ensure that the thugs responsible are held to account," he said.
"Collectively we will continue to work to build a society where violence of this sort has no place."
Yesterday, 'INLA' graffiti appeared on a wall close to the scene of the shooting on the Falls Road, which took place on Wednesday night.
However, police say it is too early to speculate about who was involved, or if the two shootings are linked.
SDLP Assembly candidate Alex Attwood said the shooting "confirms the insidious efforts of the few to terrorise the many" and warned that no one was safe from "the self-appointed few".
He added that the incident gave "added reason for people to help the PSNI, and added reason for the PSNI to escalate their interventions".
Mr Attwood told the Belfast Telegraph: "Unless the police commit resources year in, year out, then the people pushing drugs will be able to take more of a grip on the community than they already have.
"This escalation of violence shows that the situation, which was already serious, is now becoming even more serious, and both the police and the public must now escalate their response.
"It has to be a strategic response over a prolonged period of time, and police have to be seen to be tough."
Meanwhile, a 31-year-old man, named locally as Ty McGuire, remains in a critical condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after being shot in the head at his home in Craigavon in the early hours of Monday.
An automatic rifle was used to fire at least 20 shots through his living room window in what police described as an "orchestrated and carefully planned" attack.