Two men arrested after senior police detective shot multiple times at kids' football training

19 May 2023, 14:34 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 15:03

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot at a sports complex on Killyclogher Road
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot at a sports complex on Killyclogher Road. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting of a senior police detective in Northern Ireland, taking the total arrests to 17.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell, was shot near a sports complex on the Killyclogher Road in Omagh, County Tyrone on February 22.

Mr Caldwell, who suffered "life-changing" injuries in the attack, was discharged from hospital in April, after undergoing multiple operations. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said he had been discharged "to continue his recovery".

The two men arrested on suspicion of attempted murder on Friday were aged 28 and 70. The arrests followed separate searches in County Tyrone.

"They have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning, and remain in custody at this time," local police said. The latest arrests take the total to 17.

Dissident republican group the New IRA is the primary focus for detectives investigating the shooting. Police believe two gunmen were involved, and at least ten shots were fired.

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Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot at a sports complex on Killyclogher Road
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot at a sports complex on Killyclogher Road. Picture: Alamy
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell. Picture: Alamy

Liam Kelly, the chairman of Northern Ireland's police federation, said after the shooting that Det Ch Insp Caldwell had "been involved in coaching with children over a long period of time and this is how he's been rewarded by terrorists - it's an absolute disgrace."Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the attackers in the wake of the shooting.

Politicians from across the spectrum condemned the attack, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling it a "disgraceful shooting".

"My thoughts are with the officer and his family," he said. "There is no place in our society for those who seek to harm public servants protecting communities."

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill called the attack "reprehensible", tweeting: "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.

"I unreservedly condemn this reprehensible attempt to murder a police officer."

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DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the attack was "terrible news".

"Our heart goes out to the family of this courageous police officer and to his colleagues. We condemn outright the cowards responsible for this.

"These terrorists have nothing to offer and they must be brought to justice. We stand with the PSNI" [Police Service of Northern Ireland].

Forensic officers at the scene of the shooting
Forensic officers at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alamy
Police are believed to be after a group of maksed men
Police are believed to be after a group of maksed men. Picture: Alamy

Tom Elliott, Ulster Unionist MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said: "Terrible news of a police officer being shot in Omagh this evening. Shot in front of young people at football coaching session.

"Despicable, cowardly action. No place in society for this."

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