A man critically injured in a gun attack in Northern Ireland could be the victim of a loyalist feud, police chiefs warned tonight.
Darren Thompson, 22, was shot in the head as he walked to work in the Waterside area of Derry earlier today.
Chief Superintendent Richard Russell said tension among loyalists in the city was one of the main motives being investigated.
Mr Thompson, from Harkness Gardens, is in a critical condition in the city’s Altnagelvin Hospital after being attacked at Woodburn Park.
According to sources, Mr Thompson was recently forced from his home in the loyalist Nelson Drive area after a row between rival factions of the Ulster Volunteer Force.
It is claimed there has been friction within the organisation after a new leadership was installed in the area.
A number of people have also been threatened recently by the Ulster Defence Association and ordered to leave the city.
The victim was discovered at around 7.30am after the ambulance service received a call. The shooting was condemned by politicians in the area.
SDLP councillor Gerard Diver said: “If it proves to be politically motivated, then it is a serious step back for this quiet area, and indeed for the whole city of Derry which has had more than its fair share of pain.
“We all need to move on and get conditions of political normality in our society.”
Sinn Fein councillor Lynn Fleming said: “Although this shooting appears to be an escalation of the feud between unionist paramilitaries, I would urge everyone to be extra-vigilant.
“As we have seen before, unionist feuds often result in attacks on nationalists.”