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Gunman shot father eight times as he waited for son outside school

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Police in Northern Ireland have released footage of a gunman moments before he killed a man who was waiting to pick up his son from school.

Jim Donegan, a married father of two, was shot several times – once in the head – in front of scores of terrified children as they left school in west Belfast.

Detectives say the 43-year-old died instantly as a result of the gangland-style attack.

Mr Donegan sat in his Porsche at the time of the shooting, with teachers subsequently shielding the car from the hundreds of pupils who were leaving St Mary’s Grammar School at the time.

Footage released by the police shows a man in a high-visibility vest walking near the school – and investigators believe he concealed a gun in a bag he was carrying over his shoulder.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery said ricocheting bullets could have easily resulted in children being killed.

He added: “Children who moments before were no doubt enjoying Christmas activities in class, maybe practising for their Christmas concert or school nativity, will no longer be dreaming about Santa or presents.

“Instead they will be having nightmares about a murder in broad daylight outside their school. A place which should be a safe haven to learn and grow.

“The gunman walked past these children and fired a weapon eight times.

“It is utter madness as any one of these bullets could have ricocheted, and having been at the scene I cannot emphasise enough that it is sheer luck I am not investigating multiple fatalities.”

He has appealed to anyone who saw the gunman to contact the police.

Paramilitary style shootings remain a common occurrence in Northern Ireland – 20 years after the Good Friday agreement put an end to much of the violence in the country.

Police have not ruled out the possibility of dissident republican involvement.

One mother who fled after seeing the gunman said her seven-year-old son was left traumatised.

She told Q Radio: “I heard about six or seven gunshots and then I heard someone screaming, my son saw it, he was able to tell me he saw a man up ahead with a hi-vis vest on, and his hood up and carrying a bag.

“He was still standing there at the time so I just turned with him (her son) and ran up the street.”

(c) Sky News 2018: Gunman shot father eight times as he waited for son outside school