North Belfast: Three arrested after man shot dead in Ardoyne

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image captionForensic teams at the scene of the killing on Etna Drive on Saturday

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was shot dead in north Belfast.

It happened at about 11:50 BST on Saturday, outside a house on Etna Drive in Ardoyne.

The men have been taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning over the killing, which police described as "brutal".

Det Supt Jason Murphy said he believes the man was shot a number of times at close range.

"I am astounded by the recklessness of the killer or killers," he said. Neighbours described how they tried to save the man, before he collapsed.

Det Supt Murphy condemned the killing.

"Those involved in this murder selfishly gave no thought to the impact on frontline emergency services who are already working hard to keep people safe with an already stretched resource," he added.

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image captionThe police are trying to establish if a burnt-out car found nearby was used in the attack

"Not only did they carry out this callous murder leaving a family experiencing their worst nightmare, but they did not care that children and other members of this north Belfast community were placed at risk."

Mr Murphy said that a light coloured car, registration YLZ 7052, was found burned out in nearby Kingston Court, and he is trying to establish if this is relevant to the murder.

He is also appealing for information about a dark-coloured car which was seen in Ardoyne Avenue minutes after the other car was set on fire.

image captionDet Supt Jason Murphy said the killing was "brutal"

Neighbours were quickly on the scene of the attack.

'I couldn't save him'

One man said he "heard four big bangs and ran outside to see what was happening".

He said he saw a man "stumbling out of the garden" and that he ran over to help but the man collapsed.

"I tried doing CPR but I couldn't save him," he said.

Another witness said she ran to help but that the man was already dead so she put a sheet over him to "give him some dignity".

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image captionThe shooting has been condemned by local politicians

Justice Minister Naomi Long has condemned the gun attack.

"Those responsible for this appalling crime have left a family grieving and a community in shock," she said.

"This appalling crime places additional pressures on our first responders, at a time when they are already dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and all of the challenges that brings with it."

SDLP councillor Paul McCusker said the killing had caused "immense shock".

'Barbaric crime'

"It’s hard to describe how traumatic this has been for people who were going about their business," he said.

“Those responsible for this barbaric crime have no support here."

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly also condemned the shooting.

“At a time when all frontline statutory agencies and indeed communities are doing what they can to fight against Covid-19, this just adds to the suffering unfortunately being experienced by local people at this time," he said.

The Secretary of State Brandon Lewis described the killing as "abhorrent".

"This type of justice is never, and will never, be a substitute for policing and the force of law," he said.

"This cowardly act is particularly thoughtless at a time when our frontline emergency services are already working incredibly hard to keep us all safe while dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic."