Detectives investigating the murder of Kevin Kearney in north Belfast on Tuesday yesterday have released a 39-year-old man they had arrested ‘unconditionally’.
A PSNI spokesman said: “Detectives from Serious Crime Branch investigating the murder of Kevin Kearney in north Belfast on Tuesday 9 October have released a 39 year old man arrested yesterday [Friday] unconditionally.”
The PSNI had earlier made a fresh Facebook appeal for information about the gun attack on the father of four.
The 46-year-old’s body was found dumped in a park lake after he failed to return home from walking his dogs.
A group calling itself “the IRA” later contacted a Belfast newsroom to claim that it “executed” Mr Kearney after he failed to heed warnings to leave the community.
Mr Kearney was known to the police and had previous convictions.
Prison officer David Black was shot dead by the same dissident republican grouping near Lurgan in November last year as he drove to work at Maghaberry.
The same terrorist faction is also thought to have been behind the murder of Danny McKay in Newtownabbey the previous week.
It is understood to have been formed as the result of a merger between ex-members of dissident gangs and former mainstream republicans from mainly Armagh and Tyrone.
Anyone who was in Alexandra Park between 8.30am and 9.30am on Tuesday morning and either heard gunshots of saw anyone acting suspiciously, before during or after that time, has been asked to contact detectives directly on 0845 600 8000 or 91801507.
Police have also reissued their appeal for anyone who saw a silver Peugeot 406 car in the Alexandra Park area on Tuesday morning with the registration number GNZ 8168.
North Belfast priest Fr Gary Donegan has said there is a “sense of revulsion” in the local community at the cold-blooded murder.
Fr Donegan was contacted by the family of Mr Kearney when they realised he was missing.
“The initial contact with me was that they felt he had been abducted, and I actually got involved in trying to see if I could secure his release, but at that stage unfortunately Kevin had already been murdered.
“So I spoke to the family after that and of course they were devastated,” Fr Donegan told UTV.