Father who was shot dead while picking up son from school named

Two men have been arrested in connection with the death of a father-of-two who was shot while waiting for his son outside a Belfast school. 

Jim Donegan, aged in his forties, was sitting in his luxury Porsche car when he was targeted in the gangland-style near St Mary’s Grammar School in West Belfast. 

The victim had pulled up in his £80,000 2017 Porsche Panamera when the gunman opened fire.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said two men, aged 49 and 51, were detained on Wednesday evening following a number of searches in the west Belfast area and they remain in custody.

Jim Donegan (pictured) , aged in his forties, was sitting in his luxury Porsche car when he was targeted in the gangland-style attack in front of scores of terrified children

He was shot dead in West Belfast after pulling up near a school in this Porsche Panamera

CCTV footage showing the red Porsche sports car outside St Mary’s Grammar School that Jim Donegan was sitting in on Tuesday when he was shot dead

CCTV footage of a man wearing a hi viz jacket that detectives would like to speak to in connection the shooting of Jim Donegan in West Belfast on Tuesday

Mr Donegan, a married father-of-two, was shot several times, was hit in the head and died at the scene, police confirmed.

CCTV shows a man in a high-visibility coat walking near a school in west Belfast, before later fleeing.

Investigators said he was carrying a gun in a bag he had over his shoulder.

A seven-year-old boy who witnessed the violence has been left traumatised, his mother said.

Local reports claim his death may be linked to an ongoing feud between two crime families

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said: ‘Children who moments before were no doubt enjoying Christmas activities in class, maybe practising for their Christmas concert or school nativity, will no longer be dreaming about Santa or presents.

‘Instead they will be having nightmares about a murder in broad daylight outside their school. A place which should be a safe haven to learn and grow.

‘The gunman walked past these children and fired a weapon eight times.

‘It is utter madness as any one of these bullets could have ricocheted, and having been at the scene I cannot emphasise enough that it is sheer luck I am not investigating multiple fatalities.’

He appealed for anyone who may have seen the gunman to contact police.

Local reports claim his death may be linked to an ongoing feud between two crime families.  Mr Donegan, who owned a haulage business, was known to have associates and business links to the Republic. 

St Mary’s Grammar School in west Belfast is closed today and pupils will be offered counselling.  

Last night the victim’s Porsche was covered in a tarpaulin and forensics officers combed the area for clues.

The incident happened near St Mary’s Grammar School in West Belfast

St Mary’s issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying it will be closed on Wednesday.

‘The thoughts and prayers of the Principal and all the staff are with our pupil and his family at this very sad time,’ the school’s statement said.

‘Ensuring that all pupils got home safely was our absolute focus following this tragic incident.

‘The school will be closed on Wednesday, December 5 due to the on-going investigation. The school will be providing pupils with counselling and support services.’  

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said: ‘It is deeply concerning that this killing was carried out in full view of hundreds of kids who were leaving school at the time.’

The victim is believed to have died instantly after the gunman opened fire 

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) attended but transported nobody from the scene, a statement said.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed an incident had occurred and closed a number of roads nearby.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said yesterday: ‘Police are currently at the scene of a shooting during which a man died.

‘I would like to appeal to anyone who saw a man in his 40s, wearing a high vis vest with the words Security on the back heading in the direction of Glen Road, as well as anyone who witnessed the shooting or was in the Glen Road area from 3pm, to come forward and speak to police.’

An NIAS statement said: ‘The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 15:14 on Tuesday 04 December 2018 following reports of an incident in the Glen Road area of Belfast.

‘Two paramedic officers and one rapid response paramedic were dispatched to the incident.

‘No one was transported from the scene.’

Forensic officers attending the scene of the shooting in West Belfast’s Glen Road

Tim Attwood, an SDLP councillor, claimed the victim of the shooting was killed ‘instantly’.

‘It is absolutely sickening that a gun was fired in the vicinity of both a primary and secondary school in west Belfast today,’ he said.

‘A number of pupils witnessed this fatality and are understandably very disturbed and frightened after this reckless act occurred nearby the school gates.

‘There is absolutely no place for this in 2018; this madness belongs in the past and we cannot allow it to once again become our normality.

‘I cannot stress enough that any information relating to this incident must be passed to the PSNI immediately.’ 

The Glen Road, usually a busy thoroughfare, was dominated by cordons, police land rovers and flashing lights.

The Glen Road (pictured), usually a busy thoroughfare, was dominated by cordons, police land rovers and flashing lights last night

Some children were unable to make their way up the road and received assistance from youth workers.

The area includes two post-primary schools and nursery schools.

A tall metal curtain has been erected to block a view of the scene of the shooting.

Transport operator Translink said its services had been diverted. 

Paramilitary-style shootings are still a regular occurrence in Northern Ireland, 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement which largely ended violence, although most are not fatal.

Detectives have not yet commented on any potential motives for the attack or who may be responsible.

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