A cheeky shotgun attack in Co Down on Wednesday night took place just yards from the nearby recreation center as families used the facility and young children played.
At around 8:15 p.m., a loud bang sounded in the parking lot and football field of the Banbridge Leisure Center as a hooded man fired through the front window of a property on Huntly Road.
Police said two men and a woman were inside the property at the time of the attack, with a man in his 20s suffering from minor head injuries.
A car was then heard leaving the scene at high speed towards the local golf club.
People nearby initially thought fireworks had exploded, but it wasn’t until the PSNI and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service arrived that the gravity of the situation became clear .
A resident said two young boys were playing on bicycles when they saw the gunman get out of the vehicle and shoot at the house.
Another witness said: âWe just thought some young boys started fireworks and didn’t think anything about it. We saw the ambulance arrive and watched as the police arrived.
âThe police had put out their torches and were searching the row of houses after they were cordoned off.
âThe parking lot at the leisure center was full at the time and people were coming in and out.
“It’s scary to think someone would do that, let alone the families and the people going about their daily lives so close.”
Officers cordoned off the scene and spoke to neighbors and those using the recreation center’s facilities in hopes of obtaining information for their investigation.
Forensic pathologists searched the area for clues on Wednesday evening and continued until the early hours of Thursday morning.
This is only the latest gun attack to have taken place in Banbridge in recent years.
A shot was fired from the front door of a property in Granville Gardens in 2019. A woman and two men were inside at the time, but there were no injuries.
Two years earlier, a man in his 60s had been injured after several shots were fired through the window of a house in the Tullymore Road area.
Meanwhile, in May this year, a window was smashed in an apartment in Millmount Court and a gasoline bomb was thrown in the living room, causing minor burn damage.
Numerous other incidents with gasoline bombs and incendiary bombs have taken place in Banbridge in recent years.
It is not known if the incidents are related.
In a statement, PSNI Detective Sergeant Stewart said: âA man, described as wearing black clothes and a balaclava, and carrying what appeared to be a shotgun, was seen in the area at the time. . It was reported that he headed for the crossroads of Reilly Street and Huntley Road.
âIt was a despicable and calculated attack, with the most serious potential consequences. Disturbingly, anyone, from residents to would-be passers-by, could have been killed.
âI appeal to anyone who has witnessed this incident, or has information that could assist us in our investigations, to contact us on 101, citing the 1992 reference number of 9/22/21.
“A report can also be made using the online report form at www.psni.police.uk/makeareport.
âAlternatively, the information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. “