Northern Ireland

Stephen Carson murder: Police say fatal gun attack 'part of criminal feud'

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Media captionForensic teams have attended the scene of the shooting in Walmer Street

A man who was shot in the head through a bathroom door was murdered as part of a "criminal feud", police have said.

Stephen Carson, 28, was shot in front of his family in a house at Walmer Street in the Ormeau Road area at about 22:45 GMT on Thursday.

Police said he was having a meal with his partner and nine-year-old son when "at least three men carrying a hammer and a shotgun burst into the house".

After a confrontation, Mr Carson ran into a downstairs bathroom.

He was shot through the door of the bathroom.

Image copyright PSNI
Image caption Police released a photo of Stephen Carson as they appealed for information

'Cold-blooded'

Following the attack, Mr Carson was taken to hospital, where he died from a fatal head wound.

The officer leading the investigation, Det Supt Kevin Geddes, said the murder was "brutal and cold-blooded".

"Our main line of enquiry, but not our only line of enquiry, is that Stephen was shot as part of a criminal feud," he said.

"We do not believe at this stage there was any paramilitary involvement nor do we believe this was sectarian."

'Possible link'

He said Mr Carson was known to police but had been trying to get his life together.

Detectives are also investigating a possible link to the murder of pizza delivery driver Kieran McManus in west Belfast almost three years ago.

In April 2013, Mr McManus was shot a number of times at close range in a car park outside the pizza shop where he worked on Kennedy Way.

Image caption Part of Walmer Street and neighbouring streets were closed off on Friday morning
Image caption Walmer Street is located in the Ballynafeigh area of the Ormeau Road

Police have appealed for information about the shooting.

Image caption The shooting took place on Thursday night
Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police have appealed for information about the gun attack

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned those responsible for the murder and said it was "terrible news".