A father has been shot dead at point-blank range in front of terrified school children while waiting to pick his son up.
Jim Donegan was sat his car when he was gunned down in Belfast at 3pm yesterday.
The dad in his 40s was shot as many as five times in what was branded a ‘gangland-style execution’, reports Belfast Live.
Police are searching for a man ‘in his 40s’ and wearing a high vis ‘Security’ vest, believed to be the gunman.
A security source said: “It was an execution in broad daylight.
“A man shot while waiting in his car – that is for all intents and purposes a gangland-style execution. It was up close, personal and point blank.
“You have to ask, was the shooter wearing that vest to blend into his surroundings? It’s been planned and thought through.
“The normal dissident shooting would be a hit-and-run. And would any dissident Republican groups risk an own goal, not just outside a school but also at kicking out time? It’s not their style.
“This feels very Southern, like the Kinahans, and police will be ruling no one out at this stage.”
Speaking last night, PSNI Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said that police believe a lone gunman made off on foot, and didn’t rule out dissident Republicans as responsible.
He added: “It’s very early stages in the police investigation. Specialist detectives have been employed to carry out the investigation and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.
“The involvement of dissident Republicans is absolutely an option that police will keep open and it is possible that dissident Republicans were responsible for this murder.
“There would have been a large amount of children present at that time. Children, we understand, were extremely close to the incident when it happened.
“It is entirely possible that a child could have been injured as a result.
"The victim was sitting in a red Porsche, registration JDZ34 and I would ask for anyone who saw this car in and around the Glen Road area this afternoon to come forward to police or if you saw anyone acting suspiciously around the car to come forward and speak to police on the 101 number."
Two other schools are nearby, St Teresa’s Primary School and the Christian Brothers Primary School.
Sinn Fein MLA Paul Maskey said that the community has been left in "total shock".
He said: “I have spoken to an uncle of this man, and the family are devastated.
“I’ve also spoken to parents of young children who witnessed this.
“We have to ensure that statutory organisations work with the schools, to see what services can be put in place for the young children who witnessed this. That could last with them for a very, very long time.”
SDLP Councillor Tim Attwood described the shooting as "madness".
Speaking from the scene, he said: “It is absolutely sickening that a gun was fired in the vicinity of both a primary and secondary school in West Belfast today.
“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.”
Alliance MLA Stephen Farry called for the shooter to be "taken off our streets".
He said: “This was a disgusting and depraved crime, made all the more heinous by the fact it was so close to a number of schools who were getting out at the time.
“I utterly condemn this killing – those who carried it out must be taken off our streets immediately. It was a reckless act which could have resulted in the additional injury, or even worse, of schoolchildren.
“My thoughts are with the loved ones of the deceased following this murder. We must also ensure any pupils who were in the vicinity at the time are given whatever support they need.”
St Mary’s Grammar School said that they will be providing pupils with counselling.
They said: “The thoughts and prayers of the principal and all the staff are with our pupil and his family at this very sad time.
“Ensuring that all pupils got home safely was our absolute focus following this tragic incident.
“The school will be closed on Wednesday 5th December 2018 to due to the on-going investigation.
“The school will be providing pupils with counselling and support services.”
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