Children witness drive-by shooting at primary school

Scene of shooting at St Brendan's Primary School in Cragaivon, Co Armagh
Scene of shooting at St Brendan's Primary School in Cragaivon, Co Armagh

Terrified children looked on as a man waiting to collect a child from a Craigavon primary school was injured in a drive-by shooting.

The victim, named locally as Jim Carlisle, was sitting in his car near St Brendan’s Primary School in the Moyraverty area when he was hit by a hail of bullets.

Police said he suffered a number of injuries, reportedly gunshot wounds to the stomach.

The Southern Area Trust said later that he was in a stable condition.

It is understood a number of children were boarding a nearby bus when at least seven shots rang out, just before 3pm yesterday.

Detectives believe a black BMW 525 Sport - reg JIG 8111 - which was found on fire in nearby Deramore Drive may be linked to the shooting.

PSNI Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said: “The area was very busy and we believe a number of people may have witnessed this shooting.

“We would ask anyone who has information to contact us as soon as possible so we can progress our investigation.

“There are no words to describe the foolhardiness and complete disregard for the safety of the children and parents who were in the area at the time.”

Shocked parents arrived to collect children from the school, only yards from where the shooting took place.

The windows of a Peugeot car parked on a pavement across the road from the school were shot out.

At the scene, paramedic equipment could be seen on the road beside an Ulsterbus parked outside the school.

Some concerned parents arrived at the school soon after the police cordon went up around the victim’s car. They were redirected to another route to collect their children.

Several parents voiced disgust that a shooting took place outside a primary school as young children were leaving for the day.

One parent contacted the Lurgan Mail to say: “I want to pay tribute to the teachers who carefully escorted children out of the way and got the situation under control.”

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said those responsible showed “a breathtaking recklessness with the safety of these children”.

It is now time for people to go further than denouncing violence and to start “cooperating with the police and coming forward with information”, she added.

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd said there could be “no place for guns in our society”.

Those responsible showed “absolutely no regard” for pupils, parents and the community, he said.