A suspect in a west Belfast alleyway murder may have left Northern Ireland, the High Court heard on Friday.
Prosecutors also revealed the gun used to shoot father-of-one Edward Gibson has still not been found.
Details emerged as bail was granted to a 58-year-old man who was allegedly summoned to carry out the killing.
Mr Gibson, 28, was shot in the stomach and thigh at Clonfaddan Crescent, in the Divis area of the city, on October 24. He was taken to hospital but died later.
The killing, said to have been part of a long-running dispute, is allegedly connected to a fight earlier the same day.
Malachy Goodman, of Rockmore Road in Belfast, faces charges of murder, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, and having cannabis with intent to supply.
Opposing his bail application, prosecution counsel argued there was a risk of interference with the main witness in the case, identified only as Witness E.
Kate McKay also stressed the investigation into the killing is continuing.
“The gun is outstanding, it’s not been found,” she said.
“The co-accused has not been located and there’s a concern that until investigations are at a further stage the applicant may well interfere with witnesses.”
Mrs McKay disclosed that police are waiting for forensic results on a live bullet found at the scene.
“There could be DNA or something of that nature on the round,” she told the court.
Pressed by the judge for evidence to back fears of witness interference, the barrister suggested Goodman may make contact with the man being sought.
She said: “He comes from the area but clearly he’s no longer in the area. He’s fled, potentially the entire jurisdiction, at this stage.”
Defence lawyers have challenged the reliability of Witness E’s description to police of the alleged killer.
Three different versions were given, including significant differences between the gunman and Goodman, they contended.
Renewing the bail application today, barrister Jonathan Browne confirmed efforts to find an address outside west Belfast have been exhausted.
Lord Justice Coghlin ruled that Goodman could be released on tight conditions, which include an exclusion zone around the area of the shooting.
He also banned the defendant from any contact with either the second suspect or three other people referred to by police.
Imposing a curfew, electronic monitoring and prohibition on private transport, the judge said: “He’s not to be released from custody until the witness in this case has been told of the making of this order.”