Friday 23 August 2019

Detectives investigating attempted murder of police officers appeal for information on stolen car

Armed Police at the scene of a shooting
Armed Police at the scene of a shooting
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Detectives investigating the attempted murder of police officers are appealing for help on both sides of the border in tracking the movements of a stolen car.

Two police officers were just millimetres from death this week after their car was hit by a volley of a gunfire in west Belfast.

The two officers were sitting in an an unmarked police car parked outside the Rossnareen Avenue home of Martin Gavin, a member of the Travelling community who was shot in the head there last week.

The PSNI car was riddled with up to eight bullets fired from what eyewitnesses described as a Kalashnikov rifle.

Only the car's armour plating saved the two officers from certain death.

An eyewitness told the Irish Independent that the gunman calmly picked up spent shell casings from the ground before making his escape in a BMW with a Cork registration number.

The car was found burned out nearby shortly afterwards.

The PSNI are treating the attack as attempted murder, with dissident republicans the main suspects.

Detectives are now appealing for information on the car's movements since it was reported stolen on September 7.

“We believe the gunman travelled to and from the scene in a black BMW 3 Series bearing the false number plate 05 C 24774. This vehicle was later found on fire in Cluain Mor Drive," Detective Chief Inspector Richard Campbell said today.

"We now know that this car had been reported stolen from an address in Ashbourne in Co Meath on September 7.

"The genuine registration of this vehicle is 05 LH 5364."

Police said it is "critical" to the investigation that they gather as much information about the car as possible.

"I am appealing to residents on both sides of the border - did you see this vehicle at any time after September 7th?," Detective Chief Inspector Campbell asked.

"Can you help us trace the movements of the vehicle either in the Republic of Ireland or as it made its way north across the border and into Northern Ireland? Do you know have any information to assist this investigation?

"Any detail, no matter how small, could be important."

Police said they have established that the owner of the stolen vehicle and the individual whose car registration was duplicated on the false number plates are both entirely innocent of any involvement in the crime.

They have been excluded from the enquiries.

Anyone with information about the movements of the car can contact the PSNI from Northern Ireland by calling 101, or from the Republic of Ireland by calling 048 9065222 and asking for Major Investigation Team detectives at Ladas Drive.

Anyone with information can also contact officers at Ashbourne Garda Station, Garda District HQ, County Meath on 01 801 0600 or via the Garda confidential number 1-800-666-111.

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