Two men arrested over Belfast shooting outside school released without charge

Jim Donegan was targeted while he waited to collect his teenage son

Police attending the scene of a suspected shooting in West Belfast Glen Road close to St Mary’s grammar School. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Police attending the scene of a suspected shooting in West Belfast Glen Road close to St Mary’s grammar School. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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Two men arrested in connection with the death of a father who was shot while waiting for his son outside a Belfast school have been released without charge.

Jim Donegan (43), was targeted in front of children leaving school on the Glen Road in west Belfast on Tuesday.

The married father-of-two was shot in the head as he sat in his Porsche car waiting to collect his teenage son, and died instantly.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said two men, aged 49 and 51, were detained on Wednesday evening following a number of searches in the west Belfast area.

They were freed on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Donegan’s 13-year-old son is a pupil at St Mary’s Grammar School, near where the attack happened.

More than 1,000 pupils were exiting the school at the time of the attack and teachers shielded the car in which Mr Donegan sat from the view of children.

On Wednesday evening police released footage showing the gunman walking towards the school and later running away after he had shot Mr Donegan.

He is seen wearing a high visibility, hip-length yellow jacket, with “security” written on the back, dark trousers, and a grey hood or hat and carrying a black or dark bag over his shoulder.

He emerged from a lane in Clonelly Avenue onto the Glen Road around 3.10pm and walked past several parents and children before firing eight shots at Mr Donegan while he sat outside the school in his red Porsche Panamera, registration JDZ34, waiting to collect his young teenage son.

Around two minutes later, after the murder, the gunman is pictured running back up Glen Road and back along the lane into Clonelly Avenue.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said he believed the gunman was carrying the murder weapon in his bag.

“Jim was a husband, a brother, a father to two sons and a stepfather. Yesterday, as the school bell was ringing, a lone gunman shot Jim, as he sat in his car waiting to pick up his thirteen year old son,” said the senior investigating officer.

Added Det Chief Insp Montgomery: “Children who moments before were no doubt enjoying Christmas activities in class, maybe practising for their Christmas concert or school nativity, will no longer be dreaming about Santa or presents. Instead they will be having nightmares about a murder in broad daylight outside their school, a place which should be a safe haven to learn and grow.”

On Tuesday Chief Supt Jonathan Roberts said that dissident republican involvement was one line of police inquiry, while some local sources also blamed dissidents for the murder.

On Wednesday there were some reports of the killing possibly being linked to the Kinahan-Hutch gangland feud.

A senior police source said on Wednesday evening that it was too early to say if there was such a connection.

Mr Donegan originally from west Belfast lived in Co Down and ran a haulage firm.– Additional reporting from PA

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