Man shot dead in West Belfast

The victim is believed to have been shot in the chest in front of children, in a republic area of west Belfast 

A man in his late 20s has been shot dead in a republic area of west Belfast.

Raymond Johnston was shot in the chest with a shotgun shortly before 20:00 GMT on Tuesday.

The victim was fatally injured in a shotgun blast at a house on the Poleglass estate.

It is believed the man was shot in the chest as he opened the door of the property at around 8pm, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He is believed to have been shot in front of two children.

Local councillor Brian Headon of the SDLP said the entire community was in total shock over the murder. Councillor Headon said: “These are scenes that we thought we had left far behind us.”

He continued: “Those responsible for this monstrous criminal act must be caught and they must be brought to justice. There is no room in this city or in this society for those intent on murder and mayhem and who will commit the most heinous crimes.

“I’m calling on anyone with information to please come forward to police. These thugs cannot be allowed to bully this strong community into silence. They cannot dominate us, we cannot let them.”

Tim Attwood, a Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) councillor, said the family and residents had been left "paralysed with fear".

"Those who think they can take the lives of others into their own hands are wrong," he added.

Sinn Féin councillor Stephen Magennis said people in the area were “stunned and outraged” by the “brutal killing”.

“I have spoken to some of the victim’s family and friends and they are obviously devastated and in a state of shock,” he added.

“There can be absolutely no justification for this murder which was carried out in the most brutal fashion.”