‘An absolutely disgraceful and reckless act’: Children could have been killed, says police officer

Children could have been injured or killed when a gunman opened fire outside a school in west Belfast this afternoon, a senior police officer has said.

A man aged in his 40s, who was sitting in a car outside St Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School on the Glen Road, was shot several times by the lone gunman and died at the scene.

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts speaking to the media at the scene of the murder on the Glen Road. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts speaking to the media at the scene of the murder on the Glen Road. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The victim hasn’t yet been named, and police wouldn’t speculate on a motive for the killing.

Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts, the PSNI’s district commander for Belfast, said the killing was “disgraceful and reckless” and will have left children who witnessed the incident badly traumatised.

“Police are tonight investigating the disgraceful murder of a man who was shot dead on the Glen Road at around 3.15pm this afternoon. This man is believed to be aged in his 40s and he was sitting in his car when he was approached by a lone gunman who shot him several times, including at least once in the head,” he said.

“This was an absolutely disgraceful and reckless act for which there can be no justification whatsoever. The act was carried out in the immediate vicinity of three schools where there were a large number of school pupils at the time, and it is entirely possible that we could have had a seriously injured or dead child or children as a result of this terrible act.

“There is clearly going to be a significant impact on children in this area as a result of this incident. Children come to school and expect to me educated, not to leave school and see an incident of this nature.

“I would imagine the children will be traumatised by this incident. There is no excuse for this whatsoever. It will also have an impact on the teachers in the schools and the wider school community.

“The community of west Belfast do not deserve this.”

Chief Superintendent Roberts urged anyone who saw the victim’s red Porsche car, registration JDZ 34, close to St Mary’s Grammar School at around 3:15pm to come forward.

He said police are also keen to hear from anyone who saw the gunman, who is believed to be aged in his 40s and was wearing a high vis jacket with ‘security’ on the back and made off from the scene on foot.

Anyone with video or dash cam footage taken in the area at around the time of the killing is asked to save it and contact police.

Specialist detectives investigating the incident have appealed for anyone with information to contact them on 101.

A section of the Glen Road remains cordoned off while officers continue to examine the scene.