Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Major Investigation Team have issued a direct appeal for information following the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell in Omagh on Wednesday 22 February.
At approximately 8pm on Wednesday evening, two gunmen approached John as he was putting footballs into the boot of his car at the youth sports centre on Killyclogher Road. The gunmen fired multiple shots at John, who ran a short distance before falling to the ground when the gunmen continued to fire shots at him.
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan said: “At this time we believe at least 10 shots were fired by the gunmen in front of terrified children and parents. That shows the completely reckless nature of this attack and the callous disregard the gunmen had for children and adults who were present at the time of the shooting.
“The gunmen fired from close range in the busy sports training area, which could have quite easily seriously injured or killed anyone close by. John’s own son was with him at the time and witnessed the shooting.
“John remains in hospital where his condition remains critical but stable.
“Our investigation into John’s attempted murder continues apace and to-date we have conducted 12 searches in Omagh and the surrounding area.
“Six men aged between 22 and 71, arrested as part of our investigation, remain in custody.
“We continue to treat this as terrorist-related and our primary line of enquiry is it has been carried out by the New IRA.
“Today I am releasing CCTV footage of the car used by the gunmen. This is a blue Ford Fiesta, Registration Number MGZ 6242. It was then fitted with false plates, FRZ 8414, prior to the attack.”
Picture of Ford Fiesta car and (below) picture of distinct alloy wheel.
“Our CCTV footage shows the car leaving the sports complex and turning left onto the Killyclogher Road immediately after the shooting. We then know it travelled past Glendale Service Station to the Racolpa Road where they abandoned the car and set it on fire.
“We have established that the car was purchased in Ballyclare on Wednesday 8 February and was observed travelling towards Belfast on the M2 Motorway that night. It was next noted leaving Belfast at around 9.30pm on Tuesday 21 February – the night before the attack on John – and travelled along the M1 Motorway in the direction of Coalisland/Omagh.
“My appeal today is for anyone who knows where this car was kept in Belfast in the preceding two weeks or anyone who knows where it was stored after it travelled to Omagh on the Tuesday night.
“I am also appealing for anyone who observed anything suspicious in the Racolpa Road area on Wednesday evening. Did you see anyone or any vehicles on the road? Did you observe any vehicles driving away from the area at speed?
“I continue to ask for the public’s help to bring those responsible for this senseless attack to justice and would appeal to witnesses or those with information to please get in touch by calling 101.
“I am also keen to highlight a reward of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers, who are a charity and independent of the police. The reward is offered for information given directly to Crimestoppers that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for John’s attempted murder. Crimestoppers will ensure that you remain anonymous.”
Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org