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Residents in lucky escape after lone gunman shoots at two homes in Rasharkin

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The scene at Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, where shots were fired at two neighbouring houses on Thursday night

The scene at Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, where shots were fired at two neighbouring houses on Thursday night

The scene at Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, where shots were fired at two neighbouring houses on Thursday night

The scene at Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, where shots were fired at two neighbouring houses on Thursday night

The scene at Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin, Co Antrim, where shots were fired at two neighbouring houses on Thursday night

PEOPLE had a lucky escape after a lone gunman opened fire on two Co Antrim homes.

Police described the attack on Thursday night as "reckless".

Leanne Peacock, who heard the shots, said the incident was shocking and urged the community to rally around and support each other, but to do it as remotely as possible in line with current advice.

"Guns are never acceptable on our streets, but to do this now, at a time when the community is under so much stress, it is just shocking," the Causeway Coast and Glens councillor said.

On Thursday night just before 10pm a lone gunman approached a home on Moneyleck Park in Rasharkin and fired two shots at the front of the house, striking a window.

Seconds later the gunman fired another two shots at the front of a neighbouring property, where a man in his 20s was in the living room.

Police said it was "by sheer luck" the man, and the occupants of the other property, also aged in their 20s, escaped injury. 

Ms Peacock continued: "I heard the shots and was just hopeful it was something else. There is a lot of factories about so loud bangs can be common. 

"I've no idea as to the rationale behind this, why people would be attacked at this time. This was awfully scary for residents.

"This was at a time people would have been up and about.

"There is a lot of elderly people in the area and families with children and this just adds to the stress. I know of one elderly resident who is very stressed out by this.

"Guns do not belong in any community."

Ms Peacock urged the community and relatives of those targeted to try and support each other but to heed the advice of health authorities on social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

She added: "People are trying to do their best in these uncertain times. This is the last thing you expect to happen as the world is dealing with a pandemic.

"Everyone is in isolation and this makes it even more difficult with people trying to support each other. People will need support and we must do it as best we can."

Police are working to establish a motive and identify the gunman.

Detective Inspector Peter McKenna added: "This was a reckless attack carried out under the cover of darkness by an individual who showed absolutely no regard for the safety of the victims, or other members of the public.

"There is no place for this in our society. Everyone has a right to live in a safe and stable community, and this type of senseless and reckless criminality will not be tolerated.

"I am appealing to the public to help us establish what happened last night and bring the perpetrator to justice.

"If you were in the Moneyleck Park area last night, just before 9.50pm or after that time, think back if there was anything you saw that was out of the ordinary.

"Did you see any individuals acting suspiciously at this time, or earlier in the day?

"If you have any information which you believe will help our investigation, please call our detectives on 101, and quote reference number 1582 of 19/03/20."

Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Belfast Telegraph