Condemnation after home of elderly couple targeted in gun attack

A Co Armagh community is in shock after an elderly couple’s home was shot early this morning.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 1:24 pm
Police at the Scene after shots were fired at a house on Ballynamoney Road in Lurgan in County Armagh, Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Multiple shots were fired at the house in the Derrymacash area, just outside Lurgan, at around 12.50am this morning (Monday).

About ten minutes later a silver Volvo was set alight in the Shankill Street area of the town.

The PSNI said they believe the two incidents may be linked.

Police at the Scene after shots were fired at a house on Ballynamoney Road in Lurgan in County Armagh, Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Forensic scientists were at the scene since this morning combing the area for evidence.

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said: “This incident has shocked the local community and thankfully nobody was injured in this mindless act. The Derrymacash people are a close knit community and they do not want incidents like this to take away from their tireless efforts to make their area safer and better for all.

“Those responsible for bringing guns onto our streets have no regard for human life and must get the message that violence is not the answer.

Police at the Scene after shots were fired at a house on Ballynamoney Road in Lurgan in County Armagh, Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

“I have been speaking with the PSNI and anyone with information please pass it onto the PSNI on Tel: 101 or Crime stoppers Tel: 0800 555 111”

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd said he is ‘thankful no one was killed’ in the attack.

“There have been several such incidents over recent weeks including bomb attacks on family homes. I am not going to speculate on the rationale, not that there can be any rationale, but it is quite clear there are criminal gangs who have access to guns and bombs and are prepared to use them against each other and also against innocent members of the public as well.”

Mr O’Dowd urged resources be given to the police to deal with these criminal gangs and urged the public to help the police. “It is only a matter of time before someone is killed as a result of these activities,” he said. “This is a family home. It’s an elderly couple who have lived in this community for a long time. The neighbours are in shock and horrified that something like this could happen.”

Police at the Scene after shots were fired at a house on Ballynamoney Road in Lurgan in County Armagh, Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

DUP Cllr Stephen Moutray said all the incidents across Lurgan last night ‘has impacted on the lives of people, mainly senior citizens and have been very traumatic’.“There has been an upturn of criminal activity in the Lurgan area recently. I would be very concerned and I know my party will be meeting with senior police in the next few days."

The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, said: “There is no excuse for anyone to use firearms on the streets of Lurgan, it is reckless, dangerous and can cost lives. It is time that guns were removed from our streets for good and those using them are brought before the courts and put behind bars with a sentence that matches the seriousness of this crime.

“I have said this on many occasions and I will say it again now. Bullets are indiscriminate, they will penetrate windows, doors, walls, flesh and bone be that of an adult or a child. In this instance it is fortunate that no one was either killed or injured in this attack but that does not diminish the seriousness of the crime. Indeed the burning of two vehicles, possibly linked to this incident also endanger life and should not be tolerated by anyone.

Shots fired at elderly couple's home

“I would ask that anyone with information contact the PSNI and they do so on the understanding that they are protecting the community not these pathetic individuals.”

SDLP Cllr Thomas Larkham also condemned the violence. He said: “Those responsible need to get the message loud and clear that violence is not the answer. The people of this area and indeed Lurgan don’t want this. My message is, please get off the backs of the local people.”

DUP Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart also condemned the attacks. She said: "This follows on from a number of other incidents in the past number of weeks in the wider Lurgan area and the DUP representative believes it may be a criminal elements carrying out these attacks.

“I am liaising with the police to get more facts around these attacks. Investigations are at an early stage and it is vital that information is forthcoming.

"Regardless of who carried out these attacks I would condemn them in the strongest possible terms. They are both reckless and irresponsible and we could be dealing with a loss of life of serious injury. When you fire indiscriminately into someone’s house you put everyone at risk in that house.

"It is a worrying trend of a number of attacks in the wider Lurgan and Craigavon areas over the past number of weeks and I would urge those involved to think about the potential consequences of their actions, not only for the people they deem targets for attack but also themselves if they get caught.

Gunshots fired at house in Derrymacash

"I would commend the PSNI and NIFRS for their actions which keep us all safe and although dealing with multiple incidents were able to do so efficiently and with minimum disruption. Anyone with information on this matter please contact the police on 101 or call free and anonymously the confidential hotline 0800 555 111.”