Wednesday, March 01, 2023

By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Detectives in Northern Ireland have revisited the scene of the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell one week on.

Mr Caldwell was shot several times last Wednesday night at a sports centre on Omagh’s Killyclogher Road.

He remains in a critical but stable condition and a senior detective said the past week had been “sheer torment” for his family.

Police have said they believe the dissident republican New IRA carried out the shooting in Co Tyrone.

On Wednesday night officers visited the scene and spoke to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan said: “Today, March 1st, is one week on since this horrific attack took place.

“It was last Wednesday night, around 8pm, that John was shot by two gunmen as he packed up after coaching a youth football team.

“John was shot multiple times and, when he fell to the ground, the gunmen continued to fire at him.

Police officer shot in Omagh
Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Corrigan made a new appeal for information over the shooting of John Caldwell (Jonathan McCambridge/PA)

“This cowardly attempt to take a life took place in the midst of terrified children and parents and, disturbingly, in front of John’s young son.

“Any number of adults or children could easily have been seriously injured or killed.

“We will work relentlessly to bring those responsible to justice and tonight our officers have revisited the scene.

“We’ve been handing out appeal leaflets. We’ve been speaking with pedestrians, drivers and passengers, and have carried out extensive house-to-house inquiries.

“A 33-year-old man was arrested in Omagh and a 57-year-old man was arrested in Belfast earlier today.


“Both were arrested under the Terrorism Act and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

“John remains in hospital in a critical but stable condition.

“The past week has been sheer torment for John’s loving family, and indeed his extensive circle of friends and colleagues.

“I am asking you to stop and imagine, for just one second, how you would feel if this happened to your loved one.

“And I’m asking you to search your conscience and come forward with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem.”

Police officer shot in Omagh
Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell was shot one week ago (Jonathan McCambridge/PA

Earlier this week, officers released CCTV footage of the car used by the gunmen, a blue Ford Fiesta, registration number MGZ 6242.

It was fitted with false plates, FRZ 8414, before the attack.

The footage shows the car leaving the sports complex after the shooting.

It turns left on to Killyclogher Road and it was later found abandoned and burnt-out on Racolpa Road.

Mr Corrigan said he wanted to jog memories, and appealed to members of the public to look at the footage.

He also highlighted a reward of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Mr Caldwell’s attempted murder.

Meanwhile, a 71-year-old arrested in connection with the shooting has been released without charge.

Three men remain in custody – the two who were arrested on Wednesday and a 47-year-old who was held at the weekend.

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