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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Damien Edgar

Father-of-four gunned down in second Lurgan murder in a month

The second murder victim in Lurgan in under a month was father-of-four Shane Whitla, police have confirmed.

The 39-year-old was shot a number of times on Thursday evening in the Lord Lurgan Park area.

A man aged 29 was arrested on Thursday evening and police are continuing to question him.

Read more: Lord Lurgan Park murder investigation after man found dead with gunshot wounds

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, the senior investigating officer for the murder probe, said Mr Whitla's death had devastated a family.

"Shane leaves loved ones behind, including four children," he said.

"There's no possible justification for this murder.

"He was shot a number of times including once in the back.

"No one should protect the person responsible for this murder."

He also dismissed rumours linking the killing with another high-profile recent murder in the town.

"I am aware of speculation in the local community that this may be linked to the murder of Natalie McNally here in Lurgan before Christmas," he said.

"This is not the case, police are not investigating any links between these two murders.

"I can confirm that Mr Whitla was known to police and I am working to establish a motive for his murder.

"Enquiries are ongoing to establish where the attack site was.

"Our appeal is backed up with a £20,000 reward from Crimestoppers and I am keen to stress that information can be given anonymously."

A second site was also cordoned off nearby on Lake Street that police confirmed was part of the investigation.

Superintendent Kellie McMillan, the Commander for the ABC Policing District, said the killing was "senseless" and that Mr Whitla's body was discovered at about 8.15pm on Thursday.

"This totally senseless murder took place in a local park," she said.

"Those responsible had no thought whatsoever for the victim, his family, or the people of Lurgan.

"I condemn their actions in the strongest possible terms."

Supt McMillan also confirmed that a police officer was injured when responding to Thursday night's incident.

"One officer did sustain injuries when responding to the initial call and we're making sure that we're looking after them as much as we can and that they're getting the help that they need," she said.

"I'm not going into detail out of respect for the officer and their family at this time."

Belfast Live understands that the police officer in question was injured while trying to access Lord Lurgan Park and may have lost more more than one finger as a result of their injuries.

It is believed the officer sustained the injuries in an effort to reach the victim to administer first aid.


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