Belfast Telegraph

Two injured in ‘vigilante’ attacks

by Chris McCann

Two young men have been injured in ‘punishment shootings’ in north Belfast — one remains critically ill.

The man, in his late 20s, was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds to his legs following a shooting on Monday night.

Shortly after 10pm, three men wearing balaclavas forced their way into a house at Brompton Park in Ardoyne and carried out the attack.

Then, on Tuesday morning, an 18-year-old man was taken to hospital with gunshot wounds to both legs. It is understood that the man was shot twice in each leg at a flat on the Antrim Road shortly before 10.30am.

On Tuesday afternoon, PSNI detectives were still examining the scene.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alban Maginness hit out at those responsible for the shootings. He said.: “This vigilante justice is not welcome and must not be allowed to have any place in our society.”

On the Ardoyne attack, he said: “Brompton Park is a close-knit residential area with lots of young families and elderly people.

“The sound of these gun shots must have been startling and frightening for people living on this street and the wider Ardoyne area.

“Whatever the motivation for this shooting, there is no justification for this activity.

“I strongly appeal to people who know anything about the gang responsible for this violent attack to come forward to the police immediately so that these gunmen can be brought to justice.”

Mr Maginness’ party colleague, SDLP North Belfast Cllr Nichola Mallon added that “kangaroo justice is not welcome here”.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds condemned the two incidents: “These are appalling incidents of violence which will be condemned by all right-thinking people. There can be no justification or excuse for the infliction of severe violence or the illegal use of guns,” he said.

“Whilst the police investigations into these incidents are at an early stage, we know from the past actions of paramilitaries that so-called ‘punishment shootings’ are designed to intimidate communities and to increase fear. Far from being a genuine response to tackling anti-social behaviour, they are in fact designed to cause a breakdown in law and order and to foster a culture of lawlessness in which criminal mafia gangs can thrive.”

Anyone with information on the attacks is urged to contact the PSNI on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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