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Widespread 'condemnation' of Omagh police attack

Feb 23, 2023 13:44 By News Northern Sound
Widespread 'condemnation' of Omagh police attack
Photo Credit: James Gould.
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'We stand for peace and we stand together'

A sense of shock has emerged from the community of Omagh and surrounding areas following the attempted murder of an off-duty police officer. Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot several times as he returned to his car at a sports complex on the Killyclogher Road lastnight.

Detective Caldwell was putting footballs into the boot of a car, accompanied by his young son, when two gunmen approached him. He is currently in hospital where his condition is critical but stable.

SDLP councillor for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council John Coyle described the incident to Northern Sound as a “disgusting, despicable and cowardly act.”

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However, he said the attack will not “deter” the community of Omagh from standing together as one and in peace. Speaking to Northern Sound, Cllr Coyle said; “It’s disgusting, despicable and a cowardly act. In 2023 a member of our community was shot when he was out volunteering with young children. It is absolutely disgusting that this has happened.

“This is not going to deter us as a community. We will be standing together in solidarity with him and his family at this difficult time. We are not going back to the dark days of the Troubles. We have to move on and the culprits who have done this in the community of Omagh and the council area of Fermanagh/Omagh need to leave the stage and go back to wherever they came from because we do not stand for this. We stand for peace and we stand together.”

Also speaking to Northern Sound, Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott said he visited the area where the shooting took place earlier this morning. He went on to condemn the actions of shooting an off-duty police officer when he was volunteering at a local sports centre with young people.

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The Fermanagh MLA also warned that such actions are a “throwback to the past." Speaking to Northern Sound he continued; "This is the last place you would expect to see something of this magnitude. How two people can walk up to an off-duty police officer and shoot him several times. The sports complex is a place where people from all sections of the community come together and play sport together.

"Many of our younger generation would not remember those days and this is something very new to them. These people just don't care, they have nothing to offer our society. It just shows they want to force their will without giving a toss about what other people think and their rights."

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