Children witnessed takeaway murder bid

The shooting happened at a takeaway on the Oldpark Road in north Belfast
The shooting happened at a takeaway on the Oldpark Road in north Belfast

A man shot in the head in front of two children in a Chinese takeaway remains in an induced coma in hospital, a senior detective has said.

Harry McMahon, 52, was shot once in the back of the head inside the takeaway on the Oldpark Road in north Belfast last Friday.

Appealing for information to help catch the lone gunman, PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid revealed that an attempt to burn out the getaway car used in the attack had only partially succeeded, leaving numerous forensic opportunities for investigating officers.

Mr Reid said one line of inquiry was that the shooting was part of a feud. It is understood Mr McMahon had been warned that he was under threat prior to the murder bid.

Mr Reid said there was currently no evidence to link the shooting to a series of bomb bids across Belfast in the last two days.

The detective said the shooting had been witnessed by another customer and his 11-year-old child. He said another of the customer’s children, a five-year-old, was outside on the pavement playing football when the gunman carried out the close range attack.

“It was a reckless, cold, calculated attempt to kill Mr McMahon and obviously the person had no regards for other persons in the premises – there could have been a ricochet, they could have hurt someone else,” said Mr Reid.

The blue Vauxhall Astra estate – registration ANZ 5590 – used by the gunman was found partially burnt out less than a mile away in Torrens Gardens. Mr Reid said the car may have broken down, forcing the attacker to get out and push it off the road.