Belfast murder: Former IRA commander Jock Davison shot dead

The man who was shot dead in south Belfast this morning was former IRA commander Jock Davison.

Gerard “Jock” Davison was shot this morning in the republican Markets area near the city centre.

He was shot on Welsh Street, police said.

Senior Sinn Fein member Raymond McCartney has confirmed his identity.

It is understood the victim, a father of three, was making his way to a community centre from which he worked when he was attacked.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD condemned the murder in the Markets area of south Belfast and extended his condolences to the family of the murdered man.

The scene of the shooting of Jock Davison in the Markets area of Belfast

The scene of the shooting of Jock Davison in the Markets area of Belfast

“People will be appalled by this morning’s murder in the Markets area of south Belfast,” he said.

“This brutal act will be condemned by all sensible people. There can be no place today for such actions. I would urge anyone with any information to bring that forward to the PSNI.”

Sinn Fein South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey said: “What we have had here today is a very brutal killing of a local man.

“He is a very well-known person in this area. His family are well-known and he is very well-regarded in this area as a long-standing republican.”

Gerard 'Jock' Davison

Gerard 'Jock' Davison

He said the family, who live in the area, were “very distressed”, but he declined to speculate on who was behind the shooting.

Mr Maskey added: “I am not blaming anybody. I am not getting into any sort of speculation but quite clearly the people who killed this man this morning have robbed the community of a valuable worker and robbed a family of a loving family member.

“Clearly they have nothing to offer.”

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin Ó Muilleoir said there was “shock in the local area that this man has been shot dead in such a callous fashion in broad daylight while on his way to work”.

“The victim is from the area and well-known for his work in the community sector,” he added.

“Local people are shocked and angered by what has happened and I would appeal to people to remain calm.

“I unreservedly condemn his brutal killing and I call on the PSNI to bring his killers to justice.

“Anyone with any information on this killing should bring it forward immediately to the PSNI.”

SDLP South Belfast Westminster Candidate Dr Alasdair McDonnell said the murder of a man in the Markets area “a horrendous crime and those responsible have shown no regard for anyone that could have been caught in the middle of it during the school rush hour”.

“Witnesses have described how the man was shot in the street,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family at this traumatic time.

“People here want to move on from the violence of the past. This community will reject those who bring murder and mayhem to our streets. I would appeal to anyone with any information to bring it forward as soon as possible.”

Alliance South Belfast Councillor Paula Bradshaw, also condemned those behind the murder.

She said: “This was a brutal and callous murder that was carried out in broad daylight. It has shocked many people in the area.

“Guns have no place on our streets. Those responsible for this vicious crime are a danger to our society and must be urgently apprehended by the Police.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey also condemned the murder in central Belfast.

South Belfast representative Mr McGimpsey said: “I unreservedly condemn this morning’s murder of a man in the Markets area of central Belfast. The people of this city had hoped that we had left such days behind us. There is no excuse whatsoever for this murder and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact the Police immediately.”