A Chief Inspector of the Northern Ireland Police was shot at last night in front of his son. Police officer John Caldwell is in critical condition in hospital. Three suspects have been arrested.
The shooting took place outside a sports complex in Omagh, where Caldwell had trained a youth football team, the deputy chief of police said. While Caldwell was putting footballs in his car, he was shot at by two gunmen.
The gunmen fired several shots and continued firing as the Chief Inspector was on the ground. They hit at least two other vehicles in the parking lot, where the elderly and children ran to safety. The suspects’ car was later found burnt out just outside Omagh.
The police have not disclosed anything about the background of the three arrested men, or a possible motive. The police are investigating the case with an “open mind”, but the focus is on “violently dissident Republicans” and, within that, more specifically on the militant Republican New IRA.
New IRA opposes Britain’s power in Northern Ireland. Members of the militant organization shot and killed journalist Lyra McKee in 2019.
Irish Prime Minister Varadkar responded to Twitter that he condemns “this grotesque act of attempted murder”. His British colleague Sunak also left know that he was shocked by a “shameful shooting of an off-duty police officer”.