Belfast murder: Bullet passed through sister’s handbag

Mark Hall shot dead at family home in one of two weekend murders in the city

A murder victim was shot through a window of his home in front of his family by two gunmen, police have said.

A shot was also fired at the sister of victim Mark Hall, passing through a handbag and narrowly missing her as she stood in the street outside.

Detectives have launched a murder investigation following the death of Mr Hall, who was known to police, in Belfast on Saturday.

Updating the media on the investigation, Det Supt Eamonn Corrigan said: “What we currently know is that two gunmen approached Mark’s family home on Rodney Drive shortly after 4.30pm yesterday.

“Mark’s sister, who was returning from some local shops, saw the gunmen approach the house and tried to intervene before a number of shots were fired through the front window, striking and fatally wounding Mark.

“A number of family members were present in the room when these shots were fired, all narrowly missing injury.

“As the gunmen made off, a shot was fired at Mark’s sister which passed through her handbag. She is lucky to be alive today.”

Seven shots

The two men were armed with handguns and fired at least seven shots, Mr Corrigan said.

“Mark was taken to hospital and despite the efforts of paramedics he died a short time later as a result of his injuries.

“Our thoughts are very much with his entire family who are in a state of absolute shock and grieving for their loved one. No family should ever have to go through this unbelievable heartbreak.

“There is no place for guns and reckless violence on our streets. The thoughtless actions of these gunmen could have resulted in a greater loss of life.”

Mr Corrigan said it was too early to speculate on a motive for the murder but said that it was a “targeted attack”.

He added: “These gunmen do not think about the impact attacks like this have on the wider community, who are rightfully shocked and fearful.

He appealed to anyone who has any information about this murder to bring it forward.

“These gunmen were completely reckless and dangerous in their actions. They fired shots in a street in which a child was standing, and this child would have been visible to the gunmen.

“We could have been dealing with multiple fatalities today.”

Mr Hall’s killing was one of two murders to take place in Belfast at the weekend.

A woman murdered in north Belfast was named on Sunday as 30-year-old Caoimhe Morgan.

A 30-year-old male arrested on suspicion of her murder remains in custody.

Detectives from the PSNI’s major investigation team launched a murder inquiry after a body was discovered on Saturday morning in a property in Harcourt Drive.

‘Deeply shocked’

They have appealed for anyone who was in that area and who witnessed anything, or anyone with any information that could assist this investigation, to contact them on 101.

SDLP MLA for the area Nichola Mallon said: “The local community is deeply shocked to learn of the suspected murder of a woman.

“This news is disturbing and I would urge anyone with any information to pass it to the police.

“My thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends at this extremely distressing time as they cope with the worst news any of us can imagine.” – PA

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