Crowds protest paramilitary violence after detective shot in Northern Ireland | UK news

Crowds gathered to protest paramilitary violence in Co Tyrone in an act of solidarity for an off-duty police officer who was shot by masked men.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell remains in stable but critical condition in hospital. after the attack on Wednesday night in Omag.

The senior officer was shot several times in front of young men he was coaching at a sports center just before 8pm in Co Tyrone.

The attack took place while DCI Caldwell was loading footballs into the trunk of his car when the two men opened fire, according to Assistant Chief of Police (ACC) Mark McEwan of the Police Service. northern Ireland (PSNI).

Five men were arrested in connection with the shooting.

Police say the splinter Republican group, the New IRA, is the “main focus” of the investigation into the attempted assassination of the force.

On Saturday morning, crowds flocked to Beragh, about eight miles from Omagh, in vigil for Caldwell.

They gathered for a solidarity walk from the Beragh Swifts ground for DCI Caldwell, who is a volunteer youth coach at the football club.

Later, people took part in a demonstration outside the Omagh courthouse to unite against the paramilitary violence following the police shooting, carrying signs that read: “Don’t turn back”.

File photo dated 1/13/23 of Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI) Detective Superintendent John Caldwell outside Lurgan Police Station.  DCS Caldwell has been named as the off-duty police officer injured in a shooting at a sports complex in the Killyclogher Road area in Omagh, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.  Issue date: Thursday, February 23, 2023.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Caldwell

Beragh Swifts chairman Richard Lyons said the community had built support for his friend and for all the children affected by the attack.

He said: “It’s been a really tough time for the club; it’s been a really tough time for the community.”

“John has worked tirelessly for this club, he is no different than any other volunteer… the contribution that John makes to this club is phenomenal and this is an incredibly difficult time for all of us.”

See more information:
Police say ‘children ran in pure terror’ after off-duty police officer was shot

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, ACC McEwan said that DCI Caldwell ran a short distance after the first shots were fired and that his attackers continued to fire as he fell to the ground.

“There were many other young people, children, waiting to be picked up by their parents. These children ran for cover in sheer terror towards the centre,” added ACC McEwan.

He said DCI Caldwell’s son was also in attendance, adding: “The trauma inflicted on this boy is just horrific and he will never forget seeing his father shot multiple times.

“The gunmen fired at close range into the busy sports training area, which could also easily have killed or seriously injured children who were present at the time of the shooting.”

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