Man questioned after PSNI officer confronted with shotgun

Force believes ‘organised criminal elements’ involved in incident in Kesh, Co Fermanagh

The PSNI has asked anyone with information to contact their investigation team. Photograph: Stephen Barnes/Alamy News/iStock

The PSNI has asked anyone with information to contact their investigation team. Photograph: Stephen Barnes/Alamy News/iStock

 

A 37-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer in Co Fermanagh was released without charge on Friday night after being questioned.

The officer was at home in Kesh at about 2am on Thursday when he heard a noise outside. He opened the front door and was confronted by a masked man dressed in black and armed with a shotgun.

The man then ran off across nearby fields close to the local football club.

Det Chief Insp Julie Mullan said she believed “organised criminal elements” were responsible. The officer, she said, was being supported by colleagues and his family but was “traumatised” by the “horrific incident” which she expected would have a huge impact on him and his family.

She said the investigation was ongoing and was at an early stage, and it was too early to rule anything in or out, including whether or not dissident republicans were involved.

“It is too early to say what the motivation was or whether he was specifically targeted,” she said.

Investigation

Det Chief Insp Mullan said there was “no other linked investigation at the moment”.

The chairman of the Police Federation, Mark Lindsay, told the BBC it was a “new departure, if this is the case, [of] criminals trying to confront police officers at their own homes”.

“It isn’t something we see a lot of,” he said.

He said he had spoken to the officer involved, and he believed “a shotgun-type weapon was pointed at him and an attempt made to fire that shotgun”.

“For some reason the gun hasn’t gone off,” said Mr Lindsay. “Nobody knows why that is. There should be no place for this type of Mafia-style behaviour.”

Brazen

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said the “brazen attempted murder” was “an outrageous attack on a public servant and must be condemned”.

She said: “It is a reminder of the threat and danger that police officers face on a daily basis as they try to protect our community.”

She said she had spoken to the police about the information and reiterated their appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood said his thoughts were with the officer and his family.

“Those behind this attack need to understand, and political leaders must make them understand, that we will stand united against any attempt to drag us back to violence or to disrupt the rule of law,” he said.

Ulster Unionist Party MLA Alan Chambers said it was a “stark and unwelcome reminder of the dangers faced by our police officers both on and off duty”.