Former leading Continuity IRA member shot dead in Belfast

Victim had been warned to get out of Belfast or face being shot

The shooting was condemned by the North’s Minister for Justice David Ford. Photograph: Mark Pearce/Pacemaker.

The shooting was condemned by the North’s Minister for Justice David Ford. Photograph: Mark Pearce/Pacemaker.

 


A former leading member of the Continuity IRA, named locally last night as Tommy Crossan, was shot dead in a fuel depot on the Springfield Road in west Belfast yesterday evening.

The road was busy and children were playing in the area when Mr Crossan, who previously had faced death threats from ex-dissident republican colleagues, was attacked at about 5.15pm yesterday.

It is believed that Mr Crossan (43), a father of four and originally from the Falls Road in west Belfast, was shot up to seven times.

A red BMW believed to have been used in the attack was later found burned out in Beechmount Grove close to the scene of the attack. It is believed a gang of three men was involved.

The murdered man’s daughter arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting while more family members arrived soon after.


Family traumatised
Police quickly moved into the area

maintaining a heavy presence on the Springfield Road as forensic tests were carried out at the fuel depot located in the mainly derelict Peter Pan industrial estate.

Local priest Fr Tony Devlin attended to Mr Crossan and performed the last rites. Rector of nearby Clonard monastery Fr Michael Murtagh also arrived soon after the shooting. “My heart goes out to the family of the dead man,” he said.

Three years ago Mr Crossan was involved in a split in the Continuity IRA, of which he was a Belfast commander. He was accused of stealing money from the organisation and also of acting as a British agent or informer. He was ordered to leave Belfast or face being shot. He insisted he was not a “tout” and that he had no intention of leaving.

Alliance Minister for Justice David Ford condemned the shooting and offered sympathy to Mr Crossan’s family: “Those responsible for this cowardly act will be pursued by the authorities”.