Two men released, one still held over Belfast gun attack on policeman

PSNI officer shot three times in the arm during attack at petrol station forecourt

One man has been arrested after a policeman was shot and wounded in Belfast. Video: Reuters

 

Two of the men arrested following the shooting of a PSNI officer in north Belfast on Sunday night have been released unconditionally.

A man aged 36 who was arrested on Sunday after the incident and a 39-year-old arrested on Monday, who is from the West Belfast area, have been released on Tuesday night by detectives investigating the incident.

Another man arrested on Monday, aged 30, is still in custody.

The community officer was shot three times in the arm with a high velocity rifle at a petrol station forecourt. Commanders believe his body armour may have saved him from further harm.

A PSNI statement said: “A 36-year-old man, arrested on the evening of Sunday 22 January in connection with the attempted murder of a police officer at a filling station on the Crumlin Road, North Belfast, that same night, has been released unconditionally.”

Behind a fence

Detectives believe rounds may have been fired from behind a fence across the road from the garage forecourt on the Crumlin Road on Sunday night as two officers emerged from the shop.

Dissident republicans have been blamed for the attack.

Chief Constable George Hamilton spoke with the officer on Monday as he recovered from emergency surgery.

“He is in good spirits,” he said.

“I never cease to be amazed by the bravery and the professionalism of police officers like him that I come across on a day-to-day basis.”

Mr Hamilton said the victim was in a fairly serious condition and was injured on the right arm, suffering significant damage.

More surgery

He spent three hours in an operating theatre overnight and is expected to undergo more surgery in the days ahead.

Mr Hamilton added: “I would condemn this despicable attack, this act of complete recklessness, as the filling station out on the Crumlin Road was riddled with high-velocity gunfire last night at 7.30pm when people were going about their normal business, going to fill their cars up with fuel and buy groceries for children’s lunches.”

He added: “Our police officers are citizens in uniform. This officer was a member of the community.

“He was attacked, but other members of the community were at massive risk as well and the people who did this did not care who they murdered last night, albeit it was clear the attack was aimed at the police officers on duty.”

Police have appealed for anyone who saw an Audi saloon car in the area at the time to contact them.

Dissident republicans have attempted to kill several members of the security forces in Northern Ireland in recent years.

PA