Belfast Telegraph

PSNI officer shot in Northern Ireland - man arrested

Pictured: Car police believe shots were fired from

By Claire Williamson

A uniformed police officer has been shot in north Belfast.

It happened on Sunday night at around 7.30pm at Edenderry filling station on the Crumlin Road.

The PSNI officer hit in the arm after a number of shots were fired.

The officer was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he is in a stable condition and is undergoing surgery.

The Crumlin Road has been closed while officers investigate.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton said it was a "completely reckless" attack.

He told the BBC: "This is an attack on the entire community, people walking from the forecourt to their cars with bullets whizzing round them and striking the garage forecourt - completely reckless."

Speaking on Sunday night just hours after the attack happened PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said their main line of enquiry is violent dissident republicans .

A 36-year-old man was arrested on Sunday night.

He said: "It is totally unnecessary, appalling and needs to be condemned by all sides of this community."

Mr Hamilton appealed for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to come forward to police immediately.

"Particularly if you saw an Audi type vehicle at the filling station around 7.30pm. Did you see anyone suspicious? Did you hear the shots? Did you see anyone running away?

"This wasn't just an attack upon the police, it was very clearly an attack upon the community, other lives could easily have been lost tonight.

"Wreckless madness, we assure everyone that every resource we have will be turned to face this now."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire said he has spoken with the Chief Constable and has been briefed on an "active investigation'" into the attack.

Chairman of the Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) Mark Lindsay confirmed the officer was shot in the arm during a terrorist gun attack.

The PFNI represents all rank and file officers.

Mr Lindsay said: "This is an appalling act, and I wish to condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

"This attack on the life of an officer is a stark reminder of the determination on the part of terrorists to murder and maim police officers.








"They believe that by causing great grief to a family they are somehow advancing their warped and outdated plan. The wider community will be outraged by this attack on one of their police officers.

"The police serve the entire community and wounding one individual is an attack on the entire community."

He said the attack underlined the fragility of the peace.

"It's one reason why the threat level here remains classed 'severe' which means a terrorist attack is highly likely.

"Officers already exercise great vigilance and I would appeal to them to remain at high alert."

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the attack was the "work of cowards".

She tweeted: "Utterly condemn the shooting of a police officer in north Belfast - the work of cowards.

"Praying they make a full recovery."

REACTION:

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said the incident was "deeply disturbing".

He said: “This is a deeply disturbing incident which echoes back to the kind of terrorism we used to face on a daily basis. My thoughts are with the officer who has been injured and I pray that the injuries sustained are not life-threatening and they can make a full recovery.

"These are scenes that we should all want to move away from in Northern Ireland. We must be mindful how a threat to the future of the political institutions can create a vacuum, which terrorists such as these will seek to fill.

"We must all stand against those who wish to use treats, intimidation and violence to further their political ends. It is vital we all stand against such activity and work to move Northern Ireland forward.”

SDLP north Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said those responsible are calculating criminals intent on destabilising a community which continues to make strides toward reconciliation.

She said: "My thoughts this evening are with the police officer who was shot as he performed his duty, keeping our community safe, near the Crumlin Road. I have spoken with his senior colleagues to pass on my concern.

“Those responsible for this attack, not only on the individual involved, but on the progress that North Belfast has made must be brought to justice. This community has rejected the men of violence before and it will do so again. There will be no cover given to those who seek to destabilise our progress and bring mayhem back to our streets.

“I would encourage anyone with any information whatsoever to bring it forward to the police.”

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly urged anyone with information to bring it forward.

He said: "I totally condemn this gun attack on a PSNI officer in north Belfast tonight.

"It is my understanding that a police officer has been shot in a drive by shooting on the Crumlin Road and that his injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

"I hope that the injured officer will make a full and speedy recovery.

"Those responsible for this attack are the same people who are attacking the local community. They have absolutely nothing to offer society and need to call a halt to these activities immediately.

"I would call on anyone with information on this incident to bring it forward to the PSNI."

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