Belfast Telegraph

Terror as gunman targets family home in Derry

Shot fired at mum-of-five as she looks out window

Katie Bowers with her five children
Katie Bowers with her five children
Their home in Derry
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A mother-of-five who huddled in terror with her children after a gunman fired into a bedroom in Londonderry has said she believes she is the victim of mistaken identity.

Katie Bowers (31) has lived in her home in Shearwater Way in the Waterside for the past 13 years without any trouble.

But on Sunday night a gunman fired a shot at the bedroom window she was standing at after her two sons raised the alarm.

Ms Bowers had run to her two sons, aged 13 and 11, as they played in their bedroom after they shouted that there were three masked men in the back garden.

She looked out of the window and saw one of the three men raise a pistol towards her and pull the trigger.

She swiftly gathered up the two boys, then her other three children aged 10, six and three from another room and ran to a bedroom at the front of the house.

Ms Bowers said the children held each other and said their goodbyes because they were sure the men were going to kill them.

She said: "Around 10pm on Sunday night I was downstairs watching a film and my two sons were upstairs playing with their Xbox in a back bedroom when the dog started barking like crazy in the back garden.

"The boys shouted down: 'Mummy, there's three masked men outside'. So I ran upstairs and looked out the window.

"There was this awful banging and banging at my back door, so I called the police straight away, but while I was on the phone I looked right into the face of one of the men.

"He was wearing a balaclava, but I saw right into his eyes and he looked right at me. He raised both his hands and I could see he had a pistol, so I ran from the window and grabbed my two boys, a shot came in through the window and hit the ceiling and just missed me.

"I grabbed my other children and we all ran to the front bedroom and barricaded the door.

"They were still banging to get into my house while I was on the phone to the police.

"I have never been so scared in my whole life and I really thought we were going to die. My children were screaming, they were so frightened, and all I wanted to do was to protect them.

"We were saying our last goodbyes to each other.

"My children and I were holding each other."

Ms Bowers said she and her children are too scared to return home, but said she wants to speak out because she had nothing to hide.

She added: "I have done nothing to anyone, I am the mother of five children, but I am now scared to go home and they are scared to go home.

"All a mother wants to do is make her children feel safe, but I can't. We have lived in that house for 13 years, all our belongings are there and we have so many memories, but they have taken that all away.

"I will never forget the way that man stared me right in the face before he fired that shot. He knew he was shooting at a woman and they knew there were young children in the house too, because there were toys in the back garden.

"I need to know who and why. I need answers and I need to know if they are going to come back, but they need to know they made a mistake because this can only be a case of mistaken identity."

Police are investigating and said they were following a number of lines of enquiry.

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