Short Strand on knife-edge as relative 'vows he will kill every Provo in area'
Further details about the shooting of Kevin McGuigan have emerged, with one eyewitness claiming a grief-stricken member of the dead man's family vowed to take revenge in the aftermath of his killing.
Mr McGuigan (53) was gunned down in front of his wife by two masked men who emerged from the shadows as the couple arrived home.
The victim was shot multiple times after he got out of his car to open a gate on Wednesday night. People rushed to his aid, but there was little they could do.
His wife, Dolores, suffered extreme shock and was supported by neighbours as others tried to comfort the wounded man. It was reported she collapsed with grief and had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance.
A local resident said the father-of-nine had been out watching sport before he was attacked.
"He had been returning from a St John's GAA camogie match - his daughter was playing in it," they added.
"His other daughter had just told him that day that she was pregnant, so she couldn't go.
"It is a built-up area. A lot of children witnessed this, the youngest being four years old.
"The majority of the shots hit him in the face. The ambulance was there right and quick and took him away. About a half-an-hour after the killing, a car sped up Bryson Street and a relative of Kevin's was screaming out of the window at the police to get out of the way.
"He jumped out and ran over to the police cordon, shouting, 'Is he dead? Is he dead? People in this district are going to die - every IRA man in this district is going to die'. It was horrendous - the s*** is hitting the fan."
The local said there was speculation in the area that Mr McGuigan had been involved in the murder of former IRA commander Gerard 'Jock' Davison in May this year. "The man who shot Jock fitted Kevin's height and weight description, and he (the gunman) had disappeared at the time in the Markets, and CCTV never picked him up," the local added.
"He went somewhere and, because of that, people believed it was someone inside the area who either helped him or who had done it. Suspicion fell on Kevin, and he was killed as a result."
The Short Strand resident also told how people were frightened of further violence in retaliation for the shooting.
"It's getting out of hand," they added. "The gunmen who shot Kevin disappeared on foot, so they must have known the area well."
Sinn Fein denied speculation that the Provisional IRA were involved in the murder.
But the DUP said there would be "repercussions" if that was proven to be the case.
The dead man's 75-year-old mother said she would pray for her son's killers and that they would have to live with what they had done.
Margaret McGuigan added: "He was a loving son, father and brother. He never got in to trouble or a row. He never started a row in his life. He was a great son. He would do anything for anybody, neighbours and all."
It came as police moved to dispel speculation that Mr McGuigan was quizzed as a suspect in relation to the Davison murder. The PSNI issued a statement that said he was interviewed only as a possible witness in the investigation.
But they did not completely rule him out and said detectives investigating the murder were keeping an "open mind" about who was responsible.