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Dissidents linked to gun murder of Kieran Wylie in front of two daughters

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Police carry out a search at the scene of the attack

Police carry out a search at the scene of the attack

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Flowers at front of house as officer collects evidence

Flowers at front of house as officer collects evidence

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Forensics officers at the murder scene

Forensics officers at the murder scene

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Police carry out a search at the scene of the attack

A 57-year-old man who was murdered in west Belfast was gunned down in front of his two horrified daughters.

Kieran Wylie was shot several times at close range in a house in Lenadoon Avenue around 10pm on Sunday.

Two of his children aged 16 and 28 witnessed the barbaric slaying, which has left the local community in shock.

Detectives on Monday night said they are investigating a potential dissident republican connection to the killing involving two gunmen, who are understood to have been on foot.

Local residents tried to help the victim but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said the victim was known to the PSNI.

He added that Mr Wylie had been previously informed by police he was "under threat".

"Certainly one of the lines of inquiry we are investigating is that there is a violent dissident republican motive towards this murder," said DCI McCartney.

He also said his thoughts were with Mr Wylie's family, particularly his two children who had witnessed the "brutal" shooting.

"The lifelong effect of what they witnessed last night are unimaginable," he said.

Those involved in this murder selfishly gave no thought to the impact on front line emergency services who are already working hard to keep people safe during this global pandemic with an already stretched resource Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney

"This was a brutal killing and I believe Kieran was shot a number of times at close range."

White boilersuited police forensics officers combed the scene for clues on Monday.

DCI McCartney said the community was shocked at what had happened.

"Those involved in this murder selfishly gave no thought to the impact on front line emergency services who are already working hard to keep people safe during this global pandemic with an already stretched resource," he said.

"They also showed a complete disregard for the community.

"Those involved in this appalling murder offer nothing to the local community and need to be brought to justice.

"Nothing justifies killing another person and the recovery of the gun that was used in last night's murder is a key line of inquiry for me."

He appealed for anyone with information to contact police and said he was making the major incident public portal available, which can be accessed here.

It can be accessed from any device with internet access, and videos and images can be uploaded on to it.

A source told the Belfast Telegraph: "This poor man was murdered in cold blood in front of his daughters. It was a despicable, atrocious act.

"Something like this can never be justified. The local community don't want this on their doorsteps."

There were flowers in the window of the smartly-painted terraced property where Mr Wylie lost his life in the horrendous late night attack.

Justice Minister Naomi Long condemned the "senseless and brutal murder" and offered her "deepest sympathies to the family".

"There is no place for the gun in our society and those responsible for this appalling crime have left a family grieving and a community in shock," Mrs Long said.

"Our first responders are dealing with an unprecedented health emergency and are trying to protect and save lives.

"It is beyond comprehension why anyone would divert them from those lifesaving duties at this or any other time."

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill both condemned the murder.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey told the Belfast Telegraph that the community was "shocked and angered" by the horrific incident, which "came out of the blue".

Local SDLP councillor Brian Heading called for a halt to such "senseless violence".

Belfast Telegraph