Two men arrested over police officer shooting released unconditionally

Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 23rd January 2017

Forensic experts on the scene at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast where an on duty PSNI officer was shot in the arm during a gun attack Sunday evening. 

Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 23rd January 2017 Forensic experts on the scene at a petrol station on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast where an on duty PSNI officer was shot in the arm during a gun attack Sunday evening. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

Two men arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a police officer in north Belfast on Sunday have been released unconditionally.

The suspects, aged 36 and 39, had been detained following the shooting of a young officer in a petrol station forecourt on Crumlin Road.

Another man, aged 30, who was arrested in west Belfast on Monday remains in custody and is assisting police with their enquiries.

The community officer was shot three times in the arm and commanders believe his body armour may have saved him from further harm.

Detectives believe rounds may have been fired from behind a fence across the road from the garage forecourt on the Crumlin Road on Sunday night as two officers emerged from the shop.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for the attack.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton spoke with the officer on Monday as he recovered from emergency surgery.

“He is in good spirits,” he said. “I never cease to be amazed by the bravery and the professionalism of police officers like him that I come across on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr Hamilton said the victim had been suffered significant damage to his right arm and has undergone surgery.

The chief constable added: “I would condemn this despicable attack, this act of complete recklessness as the filling station out on the Crumlin Road was riddled with high-velocity gunfire at 7.30pm when people were going about their normal business, going to fill their cars up with fuel and buy groceries for children’s lunches.”

Police have appealed for anyone who saw an Audi saloon car in the area at the time to contact them.