An off-duty police officer has been shot at a sports complex in Omagh, County Tyrone.
An off-duty police officer was taken to hospital after being shot at outside the sports complex in the County Tyrone town on Wednesday night.
There are unconfirmed reports that he was hit multiple times on the Killyclogher Road at about 20:00 GMT.
The victim is currently being treated at Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Londonderry. His condition is unknown.
Ulster Unionist assembly member Tom Elliott said the shooting had taken place “in front of young people at football coaching session”.
He said it was a “despicable and cowardly action”.
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a call about the shooting at Youth Sport Omagh at 20:00 GMT.
In a statement, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “One man, a serving police officer, has been taken to hospital for treatment after being injured in a shooting incident”.
The officer was approached by two gunmen who opened fire near a sports complex on the Killyclogher Road at around 8pm.
Initial reports suggested the shooting happened in front of young people at a football coaching session.
He was given first aid at the scene and rushed to hospital where he is understood to be in a critical condition. Initial reports suggest the officer was hit multiple times.
It happened close to the Youth Sports Omagh complex.
There is significant police activity at the scene tonight.
Scene of shooting at Youthsport in Omagh tonight via @we_are_tyrone pic.twitter.com/Qyw59WzwGP— Alan RodgersUH (@AlanJRodgers) February 22, 2023
A large number of PSNI vehicles and officers are visible in the vicinity of the shooting with an area around the sports complex sealed off by forensic tape.
There were also reports of a car found burning a short distance from the scene.
The Police Federation of Northern Ireland, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: “We totally condemn this appalling and barbaric act of violence on an off-duty officer in Omagh. Our thoughts are with our colleague and his family.
“These gunmen offer nothing to society.”
Both Ulster Unionists and Sinn Féin unreservedly condemned the shooting.
Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris said it was a “shocking incident”.
“My immediate thoughts are with the PSNI officer and his family. Those responsible for such horror must be brought to justice,” he said.
Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott indicated the police officer attacked in Omagh was shot in front of young people at a football coaching session.
“Despicable, cowardly action. No place in society for this,” he tweeted.
While dissident republicans from the New IRA would have a small base in Co Tyrone, the detective targeted would also have been involved in investigating organised crime gangs.
He is the first police officer to be shot in a gun attack in Northern Ireland since 2017 when a uniformed officer was injured coming out of a garage on the Crumlin Road in north Belfast.
On that occasion, dissident republican gunmen opened fire with an AK 47 causing serious hand injuries to the officer.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill posted on twitter: “Terrible news this evening of an off-duty police officer being shot in Kilyclogher, Omagh. This is an outrageous and shameful attack.
Terrible news this evening of an off-duty police officer being shot in Kilyclogher, Omagh. This is an outrageous and shameful attack. My immediate thoughts are with the officer and his family.— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) February 22, 2023
I unreservedly condemn this reprehensible attempt to murder a police officer.
“My immediate thoughts are with the officer and his family.
“I unreservedly condemn this reprehensible attempt to murder a police officer.”
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said he is shocked and concerned at the news of the attack.
The party’s policing spokesperson said: “I unreservedly condemn this murderous attack on an off-duty police officer.
“My immediate thoughts are with the officer injured in the shooting and his family who will be traumatised by this attack.”
He added: “I have spoken to senior police officers on a number of occasions tonight to put on record my concern and my absolute disgust at this attack.
“I am also calling on the public to co-operate with the ongoing police investigation in the area and anyone with any information on this attack should bring it forward to the police.”
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