14/01/2020

Justice Minister Condemns West Belfast Shooting

Justice Minister Naomi Long has demanded an end to paramilitary style attacks in the wake of a shooting in west Belfast that left a man with life changing injuries.

An incident in the Burnaby Walk area at around 6pm on Monday 13 January left a 39 year-old man with gunshot wounds to his knee and ankle.

Minister Long condemned the shooting and called for an immediate end to such attacks.

The PSNI revealed that the victim was approached from behind before being gunned down by two men, who then turned their attention to the driver whose car he had alighted from.

Renewing their appeal for information, police said the driver of the car attempted to manoeuvre his vehicle to offer assistance when one of the gunmen approached and fired a shot in his direction.

The second target was uninjured, however police believe it was fortunate that more people were not hurt.

Detective Sergeant Keith Wilson said: "The perpetrators who carried out this shooting showed a total disregard for anyone living in this built up residential area."

Gun attacks like the one demonstrated on Monday evening serve no purpose but to terrorise the community and drag Northern Ireland backwards, Minister Long has said.

"Violent criminals have carried out a brutal attack on a member of our community, which has resulted in life changing injuries," the Justice Minister said. "Violence has no place in our society and the actions of those who terrorise their own community by bringing guns on to the streets must be condemned by all of us. Nothing justifies such attacks and they have no place in a Northern Ireland that is trying to move forward.

"These criminals would like you to think that they are protecting 'their' community and that the victims deserve what they get. But the reality is that those who carry out these barbaric attacks don't care about people or justice or solving social problems. They are only interested in exerting control and exploiting our communities.

"They don't offer protection; they inflict fear using shootings, beatings, drug dealing, intimidation, and protection rackets as a means to do so."

Explaining that she is committed to working with Executive colleagues to end the harm caused by paramilitaries, Minister Long continued: "The 'New Decade New Approach' document provided a commitment to put a priority on tackling these issues and I very much welcome that.

"The Tackling Paramilitarism Programme has been working for the last three and a half years to tackle issues associated with paramilitary activity and criminality in our communities, including prevention work, increasing confidence in the criminal justice system, activity to tackle the perpetrators, and providing support for individuals and communities that are subject to paramilitary activity.

"I want to work with communities to increase confidence in the police and criminal justice system so that everyone has confidence that issues and offending behaviour can be dealt with in the appropriate manner."

Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to contact 101 quoting reference 1785 of 13/10/20. Details can also be passed anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



(JG/CM)

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