Belfast Telegraph

Riot blamed on ‘heavy-handed’ police

Police have been criticised for “taunting” rioters after arriving to investigate an incident where four masked men fired shots at a house in Londonderry.

The shots were aimed at the front door of a house in Dove Gardens at 11pm on Tuesday night. No one was injured.

Police attending the incident came under fire from about 50 teenagers until the early hours of the morning. Bricks, stones and petrol bombs were thrown. Residents accused the police of “taunting” the youths and said they remained at Dove Gardens longer than necessary.

Police say a motive for the shooting has not yet been established. The family were not at the address yesterday morning when officers arrived to carry out forensic examinations of the scene and conduct door-to-door inquiries.

However, the sister of the woman who lives there told The North West Telegraph her sister would not leave her home.

She said: “My sister has been badly shaken by what happened. None of us have any idea why this happened but it is disgusting.

“She isn't here now but there is no way she will be driven out of her house. Why should she go?

“She has plenty of family around her and we will make sure she is all right.”

Caitlin Archbold lives a few doors away from the house that was attacked and claims the police were heavy-handed.

She said: “About seven jeeps came in here and it wasn't long until a crowd of about 40 or 50 young ones were here too.

“One of the vehicles was parked outside my door and I had to go out and ask them to move because I was terrified that one of the bricks would come through my window.

“I have a small child and I was worried that he would wake up scared.

“Don't get me wrong, the young ones should not have been throwing stuff but if the police had left before they did, the rioting would have stopped. They were taunting the young ones.”

Acting Chief Inspector Jon Burrows condemned both the shooting incident and the rioting which followed.

He said: “There should be no justifying any attempts to attack or intimidate members of the community, no matter what the perceived motive should be.

“It is also totally deplorable that police officers should be attacked at the scene of what was potentially a very serious incident.”

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