‘These thugs must be found and brought to justice’

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has warned that the “thugs” behind the shooting of a teenager in Derry must be found and brought to justice.

The Foyle MLA was speaking after the 17-year-old was shot in the leg at Gartan Square in the Bogside last night.

A 50-year-old woman in the house is also thought to have been assaulted and was taken to hospital for treatment.

Mr Eastwood said: “Enough is enough. These brutal attacks must stop.

“These thugs must be found and brought to justice. They cannot take the law into their own hands under any circumstances.

“These actions achieve nothing but cause pain, destruction and fear – not only to the victims directly involved but to families living here in the Bogside.”

Mr Eastwood said that fear and violence hadn’t worked in the past and won’t work now.

“With an upsurge in these types of attacks across the city in recent times, I have sought an urgent meeting with the PSNI and I will be working with community and council partners to make our communities safe.

“I urge anyone with any information to go directly to the PSNI. If we want to catch these people, as a community we need to give information to the police.

“Derry will not be tolerant of criminals who attack teenagers. We must unite in our condemnation.”

Detectives at Strand Road are investigating the paramilitary style shooting.

A PSNI spokeswoman said: “A 17-year-old male sustained a gunshot wound to his leg after at least two masked men forced their way into his home at around 10.45pm.

“One was armed with a baton or wooden bat and the other with a handgun.

“It’s believed a woman in her 50s may also have been assaulted by the intruders. She was taken to hospital for treatment.”

Police have said two other adults are understood to have been in the house at the time but were not hurt.

The spokesperson said: “While thankfully this young man’s injuries are not life threatening, this was a brutal attack and yet another example of how criminal groups seek to control communities through fear and violence.

“Detectives are keen to hear from anyone with information about this crime or anyone who may be able to help identify the perpetrators. Please contact Criminal Investigation Branch detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 1428 08/11/17.

“Information about crime can also be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800 555 111.”

The Chair of the Derry and Strabane Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Alderman Drew Thompson, condemned the shooting.

Speaking after the incident Alderman Thompson said: “These assaults must be condemned by all members of our community. The shooting of the 17-year-old child at his home cannot and should not be justified.

“The criminal gang that carried out the shooting have no concern for people living in the area and no matter what rationale is put forward for this attack it has no place in our society.

“I would appeal to anyone with information on the shooting to contact the police or Crimestoppers immediately.”