Families flee homes after Dungiven gun attack

Police on scene at Kevin Lynch Park on Tuesday morning. 1105sj60
Police on scene at Kevin Lynch Park on Tuesday morning. 1105sj60

The PSNI’s response to the late night shooting in Dungiven on Monday has been questioned by residents who said they were so petrified after the attack they fled their homes in case the gang would strike again.

The North Derry Republican Group told the ‘Journal’ on Tuesday evening they shot at the house at Kevin Lynch Park. The house was empty at the time, around 10.30pm, and no one was injured. At least two families, both with young children, left the area after it happened.

Residents expressed their concerns to local Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey on scene on Tuesday morning, questioning why the area wasn’t sealed off immediately, as happened in recent shootings in the town.

“It was terrifying,” a resident told the ‘Journal’. “My child was hysterical after this happened and has gone to school this morning afraid and not wanting to come home. The street is the only place for them to play, and anyone could have been caught up in this.”

Colr. McGlinchey said last night he was meeting with residents concerned for their safety and the police response.

“You can see and feel the fear in them, they are that worried, and certainly I am worried too. I have no issue working with the police but I am not going to do their job for them. Residents want to know that if, God forbid, this happens again, they can be be safe in the aftermath.

“I’m not out to hound anyone, but I have concerns over the police response to this and I want answers.”

A PSNI spokesperson said: “The incident was initially reported as criminal damage.

“Police attended the scene and made enquiries but, as there was reduced visibility, police believed it appropriate to return during daylight hours to conduct a full examination.

“As a result of further examination in the morning, police were able to establish a shot had been fired at the property.”

Colr. McGlinchey said the group must put the guns away, “or it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured, or killed”.

“There are legitimate ways to deal with any issues that may arise. This is not the way. I have appealed for them to stop before and I will continue asking them to stop,” he said.

See pages 3-4 for full coverage.