Northern Ireland

Man 'lucky to be alive' after shooting in west Belfast

The incident took place in the Springfield road in west Belfast
Image caption The incident took place in the Springfield road in west Belfast

A 39-year-old man arrested in connection with a shooting in west Belfast on Monday has been released unconditionally.

A 30-year-old man was left with "life-changing injuries" following the shooting on the Springfield Road.

He was shot outside a chip shop just before 20:00 BST on Monday.

Police said the man was "lucky to be alive" after being shot in the ankle and back and described the attack as "reckless and ruthless".

The injured man remains in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

An ambulance crew, which was in the area when the shooting occurred, reportedly heard the shots being fired.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Mary White said the main line of enquiry was that paramilitaries were involved in the shooting.

Image caption Detective Chief Inspector Mary White said stray bullets could have injured others

She said five rounds were fired, two of which struck the victim.

Ms White said the three stray rounds "could have injured anybody", including women and children who were on the busy road at the time.

"We could have been dealing this morning with further casualties," she said.

Brendan McMillan, who had served the victim in a chip shop immediately before the shooting, said there was "pandemonium" when the gunman struck.

"He left [the shop] and 60 seconds later he was shot," he said.

"Everybody was shocked and scared, people were running for their lives."

Image caption Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said the gunman appeared to have "murder in mind"

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann said lots of people, including children, were in the area when the shooting happened.

He said eye witnesses had reported that the victim was first shot in the leg before being shot in the back as he attempted to flee.

"It is quite obvious that the person who was doing this had murder in mind," he said.

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