Update: Police release chilling footage of man who shot victim dead near Belfast school

Update 6.35pm: Chilling footage of a gunman minutes before he killed his victim in front of scores of terrified children in Northern Ireland has been released by police.

Jim Donegan, 43, was targeted in a gangland-style attack in front of children leaving school on the Glen Road in west Belfast.

The married father of two sons was sprayed with bullets and shot in the head as he sat in his luxury Porsche car waiting to collect his teenage son, dying instantly, detectives said.

Security camera material shows a man in a high-visibility coat walking near a school in west Belfast.

Investigators said he was carrying a gun in a bag he had over his shoulder.

A seven-year-old boy who witnessed the violence has been left traumatised, his mother said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said: “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.

“The gunman walked past these children and fired a weapon eight times.

“It is utter madness as any one of these bullets could have ricocheted, and having been at the scene I cannot emphasise enough that it is sheer luck I am not investigating multiple fatalities.”

He appealed for anyone who may have seen the gunman to contact police.

Police at the scene of the shooting in Glen Road, west Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)
Police at the scene of the shooting in Glen Road, west Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

Youngsters are being offered counselling.

The mother of a seven-year-old told Q Radio News that she fled with her son after seeing the gunman.

“I heard about six or seven gunshots and then I heard someone screaming, my son saw it, he was able to tell me he saw a man up ahead with a hi-vis vest on, and his hood up and carrying a bag,” she said.

“He was still standing there at the time so I just turned with him (her son) and ran up the street.

“It was very scary, more so for him (her son), he is still freaking out about if he is still going to be there tomorrow, he has been asking me, will they all be away when he is going to school?”

She added: “It’s not a place to do anything like that, it’s not right any time, but right outside three/four schools on that road. It’s just disgraceful.”

The incident occurred just as scores of children were leaving school (Niall Carson/PA)
The incident occurred just as scores of children were leaving school (Niall Carson/PA)

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

Interim principal Fiona Crookes said the boy and his mother Laura were brought back to the school after the shooting.

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.

The school is expected to reopen for classes on Thursday.

- Press Association

Update - 11.03am: Boy, 7, 'left traumatised' by shooting dead of man outside Belfast school

A seven-year-old boy who saw a gunman shoot a man dead outside a Belfast school has been left traumatised, his mother said.

Police are searching for the lone gunman who shot the man, named locally as Jim Donegan, as he was sitting in his luxury Porsche car.

Mr Donegan, who was aged in his 40s, was targeted in the gangland-style attack in front of scores of terrified children.

A gunman wearing a high-visibility vest with the word security emblazoned on the back left the scene on foot, detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.

Update: Police release chilling footage of man who shot victim dead near Belfast school

The mother of a seven-year-old boy who saw the gunman told Q Radio News that her son is now anxious about returning to school.

The incident happened outside St Mary’s Grammar School in west Belfast at around 3.15pm when scores of children were departing.

The school is closed and pupils will be offered counselling.

There are a number of schools in the area.

Earlier: PSNI hunt for gunman who shot man in front of schoolchildren in Belfast

The PSNI is searching for a suspect in his 40s in a murder probe after a man was shot dead outside a Belfast school yesterday.

The suspected gunman was wearing a hood and a high-viz vest with "security" written on the back.

The victim was shot a number of times outside St Mary's Grammar School in the west of the city.

The name of the victim, who is aged in his forties, has not yet been made public.

He had been sitting in his parked car when he was attacked as terrified schoolchildren looked on.

On Tuesday night, family members comforted each other at the police cordon around the scene of the incident outside St Mary's Grammar School on the Glen Road.

Update: Police release chilling footage of man who shot victim dead near Belfast school

Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts said children could have been killed during what he termed "an absolutely disgraceful and reckless act".

"This man is believed to be in his forties and was sitting in his car when he was approached by a lone gunman who shot him several times, including at least once in the head," he said.

"This is an absolutely disgraceful and reckless act for which there can be no justification whatsoever, the act was carried out in the immediate vicinity of three schools where there were large numbers of pupils at the time and it is entirely possible that we could have had a seriously injured or dead child or children as a result of this terrible act."

Mr Roberts said it was too early to comment on motive, but added police have not ruled out the possibility of dissident republican involvement.

He made an appeal for information about the incident, including a description of the suspected gunman as having worn a high-visibility jacket with the word security on the back, who fled the scene on foot.

"The gunman is also believed to be aged in his forties," he added.

Update: Police release chilling footage of man who shot victim dead near Belfast school

Earlier on Tuesday, St Mary's Grammar School said it will be closed on Wednesday but said counselling and support services will be made available to pupils.

"The thoughts and prayers of the principal and all the staff are with our pupil and his family at this very sad time," the school's statement said.

"Ensuring that all pupils got home safely was our absolute focus following this tragic incident.

"The school will be closed on Wednesday 5th December 2018 due to the on-going investigation.

"The school will be providing pupils with counselling and support services."

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said: "It is deeply concerning that this killing was carried out in full view of hundreds of kids who were leaving school at the time.

"People are very shocked by this, they thought these days were well past us, especially on a road like this with a number of schools, which is usually filled with fun and joy and the noise of children walking up and down, but that was ruined today with gunfire."

SDLP Belfast City councillor Tim Attwood described the incident as reckless.

"It is absolutely sickening that a gun was fired in the vicinity of both a primary and secondary school in west Belfast today.

"A number of pupils witnessed this fatality and are understandably very disturbed and frightened after this reckless act occurred nearby the school gates.

"There is absolutely no place for this in 2018; this madness belongs in the past and we cannot allow it to once again become our normality."

- Digital Desk and PA


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