Shooting which left man (20) injured condemned as work of ‘vigilante thugs’
A brutal paramilitary shooting in which a young man was wounded in both legs has been condemned as the work of self-styled vigilantes.
The 20-year-old victim is recovering in hospital after the incident in west Belfast.
Police said he was attacked by three men and shot three times in the legs and ankle.
It happened in Ardmonagh Parade in the Turf Lodge area at around 10.30pm on Thursday.
His condition is not thought to be life-threatening.
SDLP councillor Tim Atwood said graffiti had appeared in the area in recent days warning of violence. He said the "appalling" shooting had the hallmarks of a so-called 'punishment' attack.
"In recent days there's been some sinister graffiti threatening further shootings as well," he commented.
"There are some people out there who are intent to take the law into their own hands.
"There may be some people who were involved in paramilitary activity in the past who still think they can control our communities. Those days are gone."
UUP MLA Doug Beattie said communities must face up to the "thugs" responsible.
"Yet again we have seen another disturbing and appalling shooting of an individual in west Belfast by so-called self-styled vigilantes linked to a variety of violent republican groups.
"While some would want to call this, or refer to it, as a punishment shooting, I am clear it is no more than vile individuals using any excuse to terrorise, intimidate and coerce their own communities through threats of violence," he said.
PSNI Detective Inspector Harvey said: "Shortly before 10.30pm on Thursday it was reported that a 20-year-old man was attacked by three men and shot three times in the legs and ankle.
"The victim was then taken to hospital where he received treatment for the injuries sustained during this violent crime.
"This was a brutal and despicable attack, which has left the victim with potentially life-changing injuries."