Man shot dead in west Belfast linked to dissident republicans

Friday 18 April 2014 22.54
Forensic Police officers comb the scene where Tommy Crossan was shot dead earlier today
Forensic Police officers comb the scene where Tommy Crossan was shot dead earlier today

A man has been shot dead in west Belfast.

The attack happened near the Peter Pan centre on Springfield Road, the PSNI said.

The victim, who has been named as Tommy Crossan, is believed to have had strong links to dissident republicans. 

Reports say he was shot several times at close range. 

A section of the Springfield Road, between the Falls Road and Elswick Street, has been closed to traffic.

A car was later found on fire at Beechmount Grove close to the scene of the attack. 

Police have launched a murder inquiry.

Mr Crossan was reportedly the former leader of the Continuity IRA.

It is understood that he was recently warned that he was the subject of death threats from his former allies in the ranks of the dissident republicans.

Colin Keenan, a councillor for the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), said it was a horrific scene, with the dead man lying in the grounds of the industrial estate and exposed to view from surrounding residents' windows.

Mr Keenan added: "We have long hoped that the shadow of death had been lifted from west Belfast.

"Today's event is a terrible, tragic reminder of the violent conflict of the past."

Jim McVeigh, a Sinn Féin councillor for the area, called those responsible "thugs and criminals".