Belfast Telegraph

Man recalls horror of watching his brother shot in dissident attack

By Leona O'Neill

The brother of a teenager shot in his bed in Londonderry says his family have been left traumatised by the incident.

Masked gunmen burst into their home in the Bogside area where they shot a 17-year-old youth as he slept in his bed and beat his mother with a wooden bat as she tried to protect him.

Brendan Deehan from Gartan Square was shot in one knee by gunmen who broke into his mother's home at 10.45pm on Wednesday night.

His brother Ciaran (20) told the Belfast Telegraph that the attack was over very fast, but it left his brother having to be rushed to hospital.

"Four masked men came into the house and shot my brother," he said.

"They went into his bedroom and shot him in one knee. My mother, who is in her 50s, was trying to protect him and she was hit with a wooden object in the ribs. The weapon they had was like a bat or a plank of wood.

"The men were gone as quick as they arrived. My mother tried to get out to help but the front door was jammed and she couldn't get out so she had to climb out the kitchen window. I phoned an ambulance about 10 seconds after Brendan was shot. They came in, got him and took him to hospital.

"Brendan is still in the hospital. They managed to get the bullet out, it wasn't lodged in too far, it didn't go the whole way through."

Ciaran says he has no idea why his brother was targeted and has nothing to say to the men who attacked him.

Brendan remains in hospital, while his mother, who also had to receive hospital treatment, is recovering at home from her ordeal.

PSNI Chief Inspector Alan Hutton described the attack as "brutal" and "child abuse".

The Catholic Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, also condemned the attack.

"We have learned over these last 30 or 40 years that abusing children in this way, by blowing kneecaps off, does not solve any problem," he told the BBC.

Police say they are investigating what they termed a "paramilitary style shooting".

A PSNI spokesperson said: "A 17-year-old male sustained a gunshot wound to his leg after at least two masked men forced their way into his home at around 10.45pm. One was armed with a baton or wooden bat and the other with a handgun.

"It's believed a woman in her 50s may also have been assaulted by the intruders. She was taken to hospital for treatment. Two other adults understood to have been in the house at the time were not hurt.

"While thankfully this young man's injuries are not life threatening, this was a brutal attack and yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence.

"Detectives are keen to hear from anyone with information about this crime or anyone who may be able to help identify the perpetrators. Please contact Criminal Investigation Branch detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1428 08/11/17. Information about crime can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800 555 111."

SDLP Leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood condemned the attack.

"Enough is enough. These brutal attacks must stop," he said.

"These thugs must be found and brought to justice. They cannot take the law into their own hands under any circumstances.

"These actions achieve nothing but cause pain, destruction and fear - not only to the victims directly involved but to families living here in the Bogside.

"Fear and violence didn't work in the past, it won't work now. With an upsurge in these types of attacks across the city in recent times, I have sought an urgent meeting with the PSNI and I will be working with community and council partners to make our communities safe.

"I urge anyone with any information to go directly to the PSNI.

"If we want to catch these people, as a community we need to give information to the police. Derry will not be tolerant of criminals who attack teenagers."

Belfast Telegraph

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