Man ‘shot dead’ while picking child up from school in Belfast

A man was shot dead in front of terrified children as he waited to pick up a child from school in Belfast this afternoon.

The victim was sitting in his parked car when the attack happened near St Mary’s Grammar School on the Glen Road at around closing time.

Panicked parents heard gunfire and rushed to the scene at around 3pm this afternoon.

Police are hunting the gunman, who is described as being in his 40’s and wearing a hi vis vest with the words “security” on it.

The victim’s Porsche car was covered in a tarpaulin and forensics officers combed the area for clues.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said: "Police are currently at the scene of a shooting during which a man died this afternoon.

"I would like to appeal to anyone who saw a man in his 40s, wearing a high vis vest with the words Security on the back heading in the direction of Glen Road, as well as anyone who witnessed the shooting or was in the Glen Road area from 3pm today, to come forward and speak to police."

Tim Attwood, an SDLP councillor, claimed the victim of the shooting was killed "instantly".

"It is absolutely sickening that a gun was fired in the vicinity of both a primary and secondary school in west Belfast today," he said.

"A number of pupils witnessed this fatality and are understandably very disturbed and frightened after this reckless act occurred nearby the school gates.

"There is absolutely no place for this in 2018; this madness belongs in the past and we cannot allow it to once again become our normality.

"I cannot stress enough that any information relating to this incident must be passed to the PSNI immediately."

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey, Sinn Féin, described the incident as "uncalled for and unjust".

"There are three schools in the vicinity and they were getting out when this happened.

"It’s a very sad sight and no-one wants to see scenes like this on our streets," he said.

An ambulance service spokesman said: "The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 15:14 on Tuesday 04 December 2018 following reports of an incident in the Glen Road area of Belfast.

"Two Paramedic Officers and one Rapid Response Paramedic were dispatched to the incident.

"No one was transported from the scene."

The Glen Road, usually a busy thoroughfare, was dominated by cordons, police land rovers and flashing lights.

Some children were unable to make their way up the road and received assistance from youth workers.

The area includes two post-primary schools and nursery schools.A tall metal curtain has been erected to block a view of the scene of the shooting.

Transport operator Translink said its services had been diverted.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said: "Due to an incident on the Glen Rd, west Belfast, drivers are advised the area between the Monagh bypass & Glen Rd junction up to Shaws Rd & Glen Rd junction is closed until further notice.

"Please avoid the area and seek alternative route if possible."

Paramilitary-style shootings are a regular occurrence in Northern Ireland, 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement which largely ended violence, although most are not fatal.

Detectives have not yet commented on any potential motives for the attack or who may be responsible.

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