Police have condemned the murder of a 35-year-old man, who was gunned down in broad daylight outside a supermarket in Bangor, as a “brutal, senseless and horrendous killing”.
The man died from his injuries after he was shot in the Balloo Link area of the Co Down town at around 3pm on Sunday.
It’s thought he was shot in the car park of Sainsbury’s as he got out of his car.
Police say his young son witnessed the shooting.
Superintendent Brian Kee, District Commander Ards and North Down District said: “This cold blooded murder was carried out in broad daylight in front of families who were out enjoying this Bank Holiday weekend.
“The recklessness of this murder is all too evident. It is beyond belief that the gunman shot the victim when he was out with his son.”
This young boy witnessed everything and he will undoubtedly carry that memory for the rest of his life. We are very lucky that we are not also dealing with the death of this child today.Superintendent Brian Kee
Superintendent Kee added: “The gunman also showed total disregard for the safety of the public, including other children, who were in the carpark at the time of the attack.”
It’s thought at least 100 people may have witnessed the attack.
The front left passenger door of the black SUV-type car lay open while a team of paramedics treated the victim on the ground. One eye witness said the man was lying on his back while being treated and medics worked on him for 45 minutes before he was transferred to an ambulance which drove slowly from the scene under a police escort.
“Our thoughts are very much with the family of the 35-year-old victim at this extremely difficult time and I condemn this brutal, senseless and horrendous killing,” Superintendent Kee said.
“There is no place for such activity in our society or in the community of Bangor.”
I know that a large number of people were in the vicinity of the carpark when this incident occurred and I would appeal to them to get in touch with the investigation team.Superintendent Brian Kee
Police and the ambulance service attended the scene and the area was cordoned off to allow for forensic investigations. The car park was full of Sunday shoppers at the time and people said they were evacuated out of the shop in the aftermath of the attack.
“Someone said they heard bangs but we didn’t know what it was at the time, then we all got thrown out [of the supermarket], but it was in the car park so I thought they’d have kept us in,” said one shopper.
“There was a man lying behind a car and the staff tending to him, performing CPR.
“I didn’t think it was a shooting, I thought someone had been knocked down at first.”
Secretary of State James Brokenshire has condemned the murder.
To shoot someone in a busy supermarket car park in sight of children and shoppers shows a brutality and recklessness that will not be tolerated.James Brokenshire
Ulster Unionist MLA Alan Chambers was on the scene not long after the shooting.
“The car park was packed and it was a totally indiscriminate shooting,” he said. “Anybody in the vicinity at all could have fallen victim to a stray bullet.
“It’s only afterwards that it will really hit people, it was such an ordinary Sunday afternoon,” he said.
North Down DUP MLA Alex Easton said: Such an action is nothing short of sheer madness. The people behind this act had no regard for life.”
Green Party leader Steven Agnew said: “Obviously this is very shocking for the wider community a number of people have contacted me to voice their concern.
“There would have been many people there with their children and this will be something that will live long in the memory – anyone who witnessed this incident will be emotionally scarred.
“Clearly there were a lot of witnesses and you would hope there would be enough information for the police to go on,” the MLA added.
Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard said: “Whoever was behind this shooting wants to drag us back to the past. It will not happen.
“I would appeal to anyone with any information on this shooting to pass it on to the police.”
Sainsbury’s confirmed the store had been shut following the shooting.
“I can confirm there was an incident at our Bangor store and the store is closed whilst police investigate the matter,” a spokeswoman said.