Discovery of Malcolm McKeown shot six times was something no child should have to witness, say PSNI
Police have called it "totally unacceptable" that two teenage boys in Co Down were left traumatised after discovering the body of a murder victim.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery made the comments as he issued a new appeal over the "barbaric" killing of father-of-three Malcolm McKeown (54) in Waringstown on Monday night.
Fresh CCTV footage was released showing the minutes before McKeown, who was known as a high-profile career criminal, was shot six times in his car outside Dewart's Garage at around 7.20pm.
The video also shows a black or dark blue Volkswagen Passat, believed to be the getaway vehicle, driving away afterwards.
Almost two hours later, the teenagers discovered the traumatic sight of McKeown's body slumped in the car with gunshot wounds to his head and body.
Mr Montgomery called it "something no child should ever have to witness".
He said they were "obviously upset, having to witness that".
"As an adult who has experience of dealing with this sort of crime, it's not pleasant to see so you can only expect what a child would have to go through," he said.
McKeown's family, he said, "are obviously extremely upset and are very keen for those responsible to be brought to justice".
"It's just unacceptable in modern society that there's people walking around with guns and shooting people in broad daylight. It put the lives of the public in danger and subjected children to have to witness that."
Two men, aged 28 and 30, have been arrested and remain in custody while two searches have been carried out.
The senior detective has said he thinks the murder is linked to organised crime and does not believe that any paramilitary groups or crime gangs from Dublin are involved.
The Passat car, registration RK62 PLX, was seen in the nearby Cambrai Heights on Monday evening at 6.20pm.
"I believe the gunman or gunmen got out of this vehicle, walked round the back of the garage and shot Malcolm McKeown before fleeing via Cambrai Heights via this car at approximately 7.20pm," Mr Montgomery said.
Witnesses who saw the car leaving Cambrai Heights and travelling along the Dunkirk Road, or those with dashcam or private security camera footage, have been urged to come forward.
The vehicle was later found burnt out around four miles away on Glenavon Lane at around 7.30pm.
Witnesses have also been asked if they saw the occupants get out of the Passat, where did they go, if they got into a dark-coloured jeep and where this vehicle went to.
Anyone who had contact with McKeown at any stage on Monday in Lurgan or Craigavon has been asked to come forward.
Asked to describe the nature of the murder, Mr Montgomery said: "Absolutely brutal, barbaric. To carry this out in broad daylight, to subject two teenage boys to witness this, to come across a body that's been shot up to six times is totally unacceptable.
"I wouldn't describe it as an execution, but it's an absolutely brutal, barbaric murder carried out in broad daylight and those responsible need caught."
Asked if McKeown knew his life was under threat, he answered: "I'll certainly not go into details in terms of any individuals, but that will form part of a major line of enquiry."
On the fears the death could lead to a violent retaliation, he said: "I would appeal for that not to happen and I hope it doesn't, but my focus as the senior investigating officer is bringing those responsible before court."
No further information about the murder weapon was released, other than that 10 rounds were fired with the victim hit six times.
McKeown had been charged with aggravated burglary in Lisburn on November 14 and was released on bail just days before his death.
After failing to appear before Lisburn Magistrates' Court on Monday, he was dead within hours.
This has led to speculation that his address being made public in court alerted McKeown's killers to his whereabouts.
Mr Montgomery said any reservations from the public about McKeown's character should not stop people bringing evidence to the police.
"These people who are responsible for killing him have absolute blatant disregard for members of the public, so if you have information I want you to come forward with it," he said.
"I understand people may be concerned about coming forward with information, but for the purpose of this investigation I can guarantee you anonymity."
Police can be reached on 101 or information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.