A murder investigation was under way today after a west Belfast man was gunned down in front of his children after a row with dissident republicans flared out of control.
Two Real IRA gunmen pumped three bullets into Daniel McGurk, 35, at his home in the Lower Falls area when he opened the front door.
The father-of-six was murdered less than 24 hours after he had taken a knife and gone hunting for the men who beat him days earlier.
But when he failed to find them his killers ended the dispute by calling at the Ross Road house, opening fire at around 11am yesterday.
Mr McGurk, who was hit in the chest, thigh and ankle, died later in the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital.
His partner and at least some of his children were at home with him when the gunmen called.
Although the shooting took place in the staunchly republican west Belfast, security sources immediately ruled out any Provisional IRA involvement.
Police believe renegade republicans opposed to Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and their support for the Northern Ireland peace process were behind the murder.
Neighbours said a row broke out between Mr McGurk, who was not attached to any organisation, and Real IRA men after he was accused of urinating against a house in the area.
“He got a hammering a few days ago and then he went looking for them with a knife last night,” said one.
“But they decided to get their retaliation in first and just shot him dead.”
Detectives believe the murder could have been a so-called punishment shooting that went too far.
One said: “Because he was shot in the ankle it may have been one that went wrong or just got out of control.
“I wouldn’t even say this was the result of any feud. He could just have offended somebody and ended up getting this.
“There was no forced entry. The door was open and he let them in.”
Sinn Féin west Belfast councillor Fra McCann said he was stunned at the killing.
He added: “I know this man and his family and I am shocked at this incident.
“Although details of what happened are not yet clear, there can be no possible excuse or justification for the murder of this man.”
SDLP councillor Margaret Walsh said: “If people have a concern with someone’s behaviour they should deal with this through the proper channels.
“Those responsible for this attack are murderers, they have left a wife without her husband and six children without their father.”