Northern Ireland

Man shot dead by off-duty officer in Belfast

A man has been shot dead by an off-duty police officer during a suspected robbery at a petrol station.

It happened on the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast at 1905 GMT on Thursday.

It is believed the dead man, who was in his 20s, had a knife and was trying to rob the filling station.

Peter O'Sullivan from the NI Police Ombudsman's office said: "Unfortunately the person was shot by an off-duty police officer."

It is believed the officer was in the petrol station when the robbery is alleged to have taken place.

He shot the man who died at the scene. Nobody else was injured in the incident.

The area was cordoned off as police and members of the NI Police Ombudsman's office examined the scene.

The filling station is on a busy route running from east Belfast into the city centre.

Police policy

BBC NI home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney said that the building contains a number of closed-circuit television cameras and that they could be central to the investigation.

He added that police policy was that officers could only open fire when his or her own life or the life of a member of the public was in danger.

Alliance MP for East Belfast Naomi Long said the shooting was a tragic and traumatic situation for all involved.

"It is also very disturbing for people living and working in the wider area," she added.

"I would urge anyone who may have witnessed the incident or the events leading up to it to come forward to the ombudsman to assist them with their investigation."

Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey, who sits on the Policing Board, said he was in contact with police over the shooting.

"This is obviously an issue of the utmost seriousness and one which must be investigated fully by the Police Ombudsman's Office," he said.

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