Gun Gang Riddles Family’s Home

A North Belfast mother spoke of her shock today after a gang of gunmen blasted up to ten shots at the front of her home – including one through her eldest child’s bedroom window.

Arlene McAlea (25) said it was a miracle that both her children were staying at their grandmother’s house when the Jamaica Court home in Ardoyne came under attack from three gunmen shortly before 2.45am. She and her partner, who is also in his 20s, were sleeping in an upstairs back bedroom when they were woken by four knocks on the front door.

As her partner – who does not wish to be named – looked out from a front upstairs window, the gang opened fire at the front of the home with a rifle and shotgun. Police estimated that up to ten rounds were fired during the attack.

Ms McAlea said she thought the shots were “never going to end”. She also vowed to move from her home because of the incident. “My partner shouted at me to call the police when he looked out the window and I was on the phone to them when the firing began. I really thought it was going to go on forever, the noise was unbelievable,” she said.

The front of the home was extensively damaged – two living room windows, her son’s bedroom window and the front door were completely shattered. The mother-of-two said that the double-glazed windows had been put in just three days ago.

“All I can think about is what would have happened if my wee boy had been asleep in his bed when that window came in. His bed is totally covered in shattered glass. Even if the shot had not injured him, the shock of all that glass coming in around him would have been very difficult.” Ms McAlea said she did not know what motive the gang may have had and added that she has never had any trouble before.

Ardoyne Parish Priest Father Aidan Troy visited the shocked mother this morning. He described the attack as: “Totally wrong and totally unacceptable.”

It is understood that a gang of three men were involved in the attack and a rifle and shotgun were used. One of the men has been described as being 5ft 9in, wearing a navy hooded top with the hood pulled up and denim jeans. A second man was said to be about 5ft 6in, wearing a dark hooded top, white scarf and gloves.

A PSNI spokeswoman said a number of items had been taken away from the scene for further examination. A motive for the attack has yet to be established.

This shooting happened just streets away from Friday’s incident at Cranbrook Park in Ardoyne. Four people were in the house at the time of the attack but were not injured. However, the family car was damaged by two shotgun blasts. A PSNI spokeswoman said they were not linking the two incidents.

Chairman of Belfast District Policing Partnership and north Belfast councillor Pat Convery appealed for anyone with information about either attack to contact the police. “We cannot continue to have people in communities who think they can take the law into their own hands,” he said.