Shooting victim: ‘Nobody has given me a reason why’

Gerry Heaney, who was shot by a masked gang in a paramilitary style attack on October 5th last. DER4518GS001
Gerry Heaney, who was shot by a masked gang in a paramilitary style attack on October 5th last. DER4518GS001

A Derry man who has been left with life-changing injuries after being shot four times, has said he has no idea why he was targeted.

Gerry Heaney is now seeking answers as to why he has been shot by a masked gang, and said the unanswered questions and the fear of future attacks have filled his every waking moment in the month since it happened on the evening of Friday, October 5.

Gerry Heaney, who was shot by a masked gang in a paramilitary style attack on October 5th last, resting at his home yesterday. DER4518GS006

Gerry Heaney, who was shot by a masked gang in a paramilitary style attack on October 5th last, resting at his home yesterday. DER4518GS006

Mr. Heaney spoke to the ‘Journal’ yesterday from a bed set up in the same living room of the Bluebell Hill Gardens home he was shot.

The 54-years-old, who is now being cared for by relatives, has been left with severe injuries and said he does not know if it was a case of mistaken identity, as some people have since suggested, or what the reason was.

Mr. Heaney said he has never been questioned over, or accused of anything and so is at a loss as to why he was targeted.

“Police said they have never heard of this address, nothing about me, our family.

Gerry Heaney shows the scares on his leg, the result of a paramilitary style gun attack, carried out by masked men, on October 5th last. DER4518GS003

Gerry Heaney shows the scares on his leg, the result of a paramilitary style gun attack, carried out by masked men, on October 5th last. DER4518GS003

“No one has said why. We know nothing. I have done nothing whatsoever on nobody.

“I was just shocked, I just can’t get my head around why,” he said.

Recalling the night of the brutal attack, he said: “I was just leaving a telephone number to a neighbour down the street and I walked back up to the house again, and saw four or five figures at the entrance to the street.

“I came into the house and sat down to watch the match on the TV. Next minute, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door, they pushed in the door and I was shot.”

Mr. Heaney was shot once above the knee of his right leg before being ordered to get down and being shot three more times in the left leg - in the back of the foot and ankle and behind his knee.

“There were no reasons. I asked them, ‘What am I being shot for boys?’ and there was no answer, just ‘Get the f*** down!’

“I don’t know why, I never bothered nobody and nobody has given me a reason why.”

An ambulance was called and arrived a short time later and Mr. Heaney was rushed to Altnagelvin Hospital, where he was taken into surgery that night.

“Two of the bullets are still in there,” Mr. Heaney said.

“It would make more damage if they took them out. They told me that night at the hospital it would take a long, long time before I can start walking properly. It will be three months at least, but that’s on crutches.

“I was in hospital for a week. I still have numbness on the left leg. The right leg will recover before the left leg does. I’m going over now once a month to get physio,” he said.

Mr. Heaney, who is on morphine for the pain, said he now has to rely on his relatives, including his children, for everything.

“I literally can’t do anything,” he said, adding: “I’m not sleeping. I am looking out the window 24/7 afraid it is going to happen again. I open my eyes and I’m re-enacting everything over again, remembering that night and everything that happened. I just can’t get it out of my head at all. I’m waking up in the middle of the night thinking ‘why?’”

The attack has also left him afraid to go outside.

“I’ve been outside twice since. I feel like I’ve been shut down, my temper is going and I’m starting to lose it. It’s sheer frustration. I took it out on the hospital nurses and everything. That wouldn’t be me. I apologised before I left the hospital.”

Mr. Heaney said that he wanted to know what led to the shooting and whether it was a case of mistaken identity.

“I want to know why and some kind of proof of whatever it is they think I am supposed to have done. I just want a bit of closure of it. I can’t spend all my life looking over my shoulder. I’m afraid to go out the door. I’ll never get over this.”

While several arrests have been made in connection with the attack, no-one has been charged to date. When contacted by the ‘Journal’, a PSNI spokesperson continued to appeal to anyone who was in the Brandywell Road area between 8 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. on Friday, October 5 and saw a number of men acting suspiciously to get in touch.

“Police need the support from the public to bring those involved to justice who carried out this brutal attack, resulting in life-changing injuries to a man in his 50s,” the spokesperson said.

Detectives have asked people to contact them on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1286 5/10/18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.