Belfast Telegraph

Man charged with attempted murder over Garvagh shooting

By Leona O'Neill

A man has been charged with attempted murder after a shooting in the centre of a Co Londonderry village in the early hours of yesterday.

A 46-year-old man was blasted in the lower leg when a gunman opened fire on Main Street in Garvagh, near the Central Bar, at around 3am.

Witnesses said the victim tried to escape his attacker, collapsed, and was chased by the gunman who then assaulted him.

The man was taken to hospital where he required surgery for the gunshot wound and treatment for other injuries to his face and body.

Police say armed response units were tasked to the area to ensure the safety of members of the public.

PSNI Detective Inspector Mullan said: "We received a report in the early hours of this morning that three shots had been fired in the Main Street area of the town. We believe that one of these shots injured a 46-year-old man in his lower leg.

"A 26-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and a 28-year-old man on suspicion of assisting an offender."

The 26-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder, carrying a firearm in a public place and discharging a firearm in a public place.

The 28-year-old man has been charged with assisting an offender.  As is usual procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service.

"Several searches were also carried out in the Garvagh area and a number of items taken away for further examination." SDLP MLA John Dallat described the scene as 'like the wild west'.

"This incident happened shortly after 3am when local residents woke to the sound of gunfire on the main street," he said.

"One person, clearly trying to escape, collapsed and was pursued by the gunman who, according to an eyewitness, then kicked him and fled the scene only to be picked up by the police several hours later.

"This clearly was a very frightening incident and I am pleased the police have been quick to make arrests. I would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this wild west scene to bring it forward to the police as soon as possible."

Garvagh UUP Councillor Richard Holmes said the community was in shock and that 'no one had the right to be judge, juror and executioner' in society.

"Guns and shootings should be a thing of the past and the local community in Garvagh stand against such things. The community are shocked and appalled by this incident and only grateful that we are not mourning the death of this man," he said.

"The actions of the few are not reflective of the community in Garvagh, which is a place where the community are law-abiding.

"Whatever the circumstances of this incident, people should respect the law and not become the judge, juror and executioner."

Police are appealing to anyone who was in the Main Street area of Garvagh between 2am and 4am yesterday and who witnessed any suspicious activity to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.

Officers are particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw a man fleeing on foot, carrying a suspicious item in his hand.

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