West Belfast man Kieran McManus shot dead in front of friends outside pizza shop
Published 01/04/2013 | 00:06
A Belfast pizza delivery driver was gunned down at close range in front of three close friends.
Kieran McManus, 26, originally from the Turf Lodge area in the west of the city, was shot by a lone masked gunman at about 11.20pm on Saturday night.
He died a short time later in hospital.
The father-of-one, who was known to police, was hit a number of times as he stood talking to friends outside his car at Domino's Pizza on Kennedy Way, where he had been employed.
Police, who have described the killing as brutal, declined to disclose whether the gunman had called his victim by name.
"Nothing justifies the brutal attack on Kieran and the death of a young man. Today we have, on Easter Sunday, a mother mourning the loss of her son, and that is a very sad state of affairs," said PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Karen Baxter who is leading the murder hunt.
A dark red Astra vehicle was found burnt out at Deanwood Park - a residential area in Andersonstown - a short distance from the crime scene.
The senior officer said a motive for the shooting had yet to be established. However, at this stage the killing is not believed to be sectarian.
"What happened in Kennedy Way was a brutal and ruthless attack, which has no place in society," DCI Baxter added.
"This investigation will look at Kieran's activities, but today Kieran is a victim. We are keeping an open mind to the motive and we are working on a number of lines of inquiry."
Detectives will trawl through CCTV footage in an effort to piece together the events leading up to and after murder.
DCI Baxter said some key witnesses had still not come forward with information.
"We know there were people in the area, we know they have information and we desperately appeal for them to come forward," she said.
It is understood Mr McManus had a six-year-old child.
Paul Maskey, Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast, said the community had been left stunned and disgusted by the attack.
"Those who carried out this shooting should be ashamed of themselves. People are shocked that this is the Easter holiday period and people were in good form and someone, last night, was willing to go out and take the life of another individual," he said.
"I would urge anyone with information to come forward and give it to whoever they feel comfortable with, whether that be the police or community leaders."
Northern Ireland's Justice Minister David Ford has also added his condemnation.
"I condemn in the strongest possible terms this callous murder. There can be no cause that can justify the taking of a precious human life and no excuse can explain the suffering that results," said Mr Ford.
"I offer my deepest sympathies to the family of this young man and also my prayers on this Easter Sunday."
SDLP MLA in West Belfast Alex Attwood has appealed for anyone with information to bring it to police.
"At a time of hope in the Christian calendar, this murder is all the more appalling. The sympathy of all will go to a deeply grieving family.
"I urge anyone with information about this attack to contact the police," Mr Attwood said.