Over 40 detectives have been tasked to work on Jim Donegan murder case a detective inspector has said, adding he believes the gunman may have killed before.
DCI Pete Montgomery revealed the news as he made a renewed appeal directly from the scene of the shooting today, exactly one week after it happened, as police also released “chilling” new video evidence.
DCI Montgomery made it clear that dissidents are the “main line of enquiry” – but would not say which grouping he had in mind when pressed by the News Letter.
“Suffice to say it’s dissident republicans I’m working on,” he said.
As he spoke in a lay-by outside St Mary’s Christian Brothers Grammar School this afternoon, several officers stopped cars and handed out flyers in a bid to drum up any information which may be helpful.
DCI Montgomery said the new CCTV footage is “extremely chilling”, because it shows the gunman at a pedestrian crossing by the school, then walking over the road.
He is “in the company of what I believe is primary school children”, then “within seconds walks up the Glen Road and shoots Mr Jim Donegan”, aged 43, who was sitting in his red Porsche Panamera.
The gunman, he believes, stepped onto the road and raised his hand to stop the traffic as he fled, and the detective appealed to anyone who was in a car that stopped for him to come forward.
The killer, clad in a high-vis yellow jacket, is not believed to have been wearing a mask.
Speaking of the killer’s demeanour, he said he appears to be “cold, callous and calm individual, and I believe that he has done this before”.
When asked by the News Letter why he believes this, he said: “Given the method in which he went about carrying out this killing I would believe – his behaviour would let me believe –that he’s done this before.”
As to the widespread reports that Mr Donegan was involved in the hard drugs trade, he said: “I’m aware of the speculation in the media and in the local community.
“Regardless of what that speculation is, I’m investigating a murder and that’s what I’m focussed on.”
In terms of the scale of the operation, he said: “I have upwards of 40 detectives working on this here, because I’m having to find and focus on Jim’s movements throughout the day – that is a huge task.”
After the shooting, he said police do not know if he entered a vehicle or a house.
“He walks amongst this local community, and I hope someone can recognise him and pass that information to me,” he added.
Over a dozen floral tributes had been affixed to a lamppost opposite the school on the Glen Road, in south-west Belfast.
One of them said, in a young child’s handwriting: “To Daddy, I hope your resting easy up there, don’t party too much without me... he will get caught.”
It adds: “No matter what anybody says about you, you were my daddy and that’s the way I will remember you as.”
A 47-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act yesterday in the Turf Lodge area of West Belfast in connection with the murder. Police tonight said he had been released unbconditionally.