'Chilling' CCTV footage shows Jim Donegan killer 'casually' cross road with kids moments before brutal murder
Gunman had killed before, say police - dissident republican element main line of enquiry
The gunman in the murder of Jim Donegan - who was shot eight times as he waited to pick up his son from a Belfast school - "casually" used the pedestrian crossing with primary school-aged children moments before carrying out the brutal assassination, CCTV has revealed.
Police described the footage as "chilling" and said those children then witnessed the horrific attack.
The officer leading the investigation said he believed the gunman - described as a "cold, callous and calm individual" - had killed before. It was also revealed he held his hand up to stop traffic in order to cross the Glen Road and make his escape.
"To do this in broad daylight, in the presence of children, is just barbaric," said Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery as police returned to the scene one week on in a renewed appeal for information.
Mr Donegan (43) died instantly in the 3.10pm attack on Tuesday, December 4. Hundreds of children were leaving school at the time and his 13-year-old son missed the attack by seconds and was spared having to see the killing.
"No child should have to witness what happened," DCI Montgomery said.
"Mums, dads, grandparents, young siblings and people in the community also saw the brutal slaying. The callous actions of the gunman will have catastrophic psychological effects on them all."
He added: "I need to remove this dangerous man from our streets. A man who thought it was acceptable to traumatise young children.
"Children who should be dreaming of presents and the magic of Christmas, who, are now, instead having nightmares."
A dissident republican element is the main line of investigation and a 47-year-old was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the attack. He was later released unconditionally.
Police stopped traffic and spoke with parents arriving to pick up children from the two schools in the area on Tuesday.
DCI Montgomery said the investigation was the largest he had ever assembled in his career with 40 detectives working on the case.
"I don't believe he wears a mask, he walks among this community and I hope someone will recognise him."
Known as JD, father of two Mr Donegan lived in the Lisburn area with his family. He had been sitting in his red Porsche Panamera, registration JDZ34, car before he was killed.
The gunman was wearing a high visibility, hip-length yellow jacket, with ‘Security’ written on the back, dark bottoms, with a grey coloured hat or hood and carrying a black or dark bag over his shoulder.
“His murderous actions have left Jim’s family devastated, which is even more poignant at this time of the year. Jim was a husband, a brother, a father to two sons and a stepfather," said DCI Montgomery.
Police appealed for anyone in the area at the time to contact detectives.
Detective Chief Inspector Montgomery added: "I would like to hear from anyone who saw the gunman or was in the area during these times. Were you driving in the area and have dash-cam footage which could be of use to our investigation?
“I also want to speak to anyone who was in the area at the time, even if you did not witness the attack or see the gunman as I need to eliminate you from my enquiries."
Police can be contacted on 101.
Belfast Telegraph Digital