Northern Ireland

North Belfast shooting: Michael McGibbon, 33, dies from his injuries

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Media captionMichael McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in the leg in an alleyway at Butler Place

Police have said the killing of a man in north Belfast's Ardoyne area on Friday night bore all the hallmarks of a paramilitary murder.

Michael McGibbon, 33, was shot three times in the leg in an alleyway at Butler Place at about 22:05 BST.

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where he later died.

Police said Mr McGibbon was not known to police and they did not know why he had been murdered.

He was married with a young family.

Police held a press conference on Saturday afternoon to give more details about the killing.

They said Mr McGibbon had contacted police to inform them that two masked men had turned up at his house on Thursday evening.

Image caption Det Supt John McVea said there was no justification for Mr McGibbon's murder

The men asked him to come out of the house but he refused and the men told him they would come back.

The officer leading the investigation into Mr McGibbon's murder, Det Supt John McVea, said nothing could justify or explain the senselessness of it.

"Michael was brutally and callously shot a number of times in the leg in an alleyway in a densely populated urban area," he said.

"Despite the best efforts of his wife Joanne immediately after the attack, she was unable to save him and Michael tragically passed away following emergency surgery at the RVH.

"What happened in that alleyway last night robbed a family of a treasured husband and father."

He also revealed that Mr McGibbon's murder had been referred to the Police Ombudsman.

Det Supt McVea also appealed for information about the two men who called to Mr McGibbon's home on Thursday.

Image caption Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly visited the victim's family

He said the first man was described as in his early 20s, slim and was wearing a red hooded top, baseball cap and had a scarf over his face.

The second was in his late teens, wearing a grey hooded top, baseball cap and also had a scarf over his face.

The alleyway has been cordoned off to allow forensic officers to carry out an examination.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, said: "This callous and shocking murder appears to have the hallmarks of the paramilitary-style assaults which too often ruin lives and scar Northern Ireland.

"My sympathy is with Mr McGibbon's young family."

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly visited the victim's family.

'Brutal murder'

"I unreservedly condemn the murder of a father-of-four in Ardoyne last night," he said.

SDLP North Belfast councillor Nichola Mallon said the community had been left "shocked and horrified by this brutal murder".

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Image caption Police remain at the scene of the shooting in north Belfast

"My thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family whose lives have been plunged into darkness by this unspeakable crime," she said.

Alliance councillor Nuala McAllister condemned those behind the attack.

"There can never be any excuse for carrying out such a heinous act and I utterly condemn the thugs behind it," she said.