EXCLUSIVE: A SUSPECTED drug dealer gunned down last night in a gangland hit was living under the shadow of a dissident republican death threat.
Belfast Daily can reveal that Danny McKay was told days ago by Oglaigh na hEireann he had 24 hours to leave the country or he would be shot dead.
We can also reveal that four gunmen were involved in this evening’s gangland style execution in the mainly nationalist Longlands estate, Newtownabbey, on the northern outskirts of Belfast.
Reliable sources said the father, aged 36, was shot dead up nine times when gunmen raked him in front his partner and family with automatic rounds from a rifle and handgun.
The killers, two of whom are former members of the Provisional IRA, then jumped in a Volkswagen Bora car and sped off before abandoning the car in the Falls district of west Belfast.
Police have now recovered a burnt out shell of the vehicle. The area is sealed off for forensic analysis.
Locals report a lot of activity and police vehicles at the Royal Victoria Hospital where the victim was taken to but died not long after arrival.
A source told Belfast Daily: “He was scared. He told people on Tuesday that ONH had given him 24 hours to leave the country or he would be shot dead.
“He said the police were aware of the threat but I don’t know why he stayed. Maybe he thought he could tough things out.”
CSI are now carrying out a finger tip forensic examination for clues to the killers identity.
It is understood his father lives not too far from the murder scene.
Sinn Fein Newtownabbey Councillor Gerry O’Reilly said those behind the shooting needed “to be taken off our streets to prevent this happening again”.
“The local community is in a state of shock. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” he said.
“What is abundantly clear though, is that those responsible have shown absolute disregard for this community and endangered those nearby through this reckless and dangerous action.
“I would appeal to anyone with any information to make it known to the PSNI as soon as possible. There can be no justification whatsoever for this type of attack and those behind it need taken off our streets.”
Detectives and uniform PSNI officers have sealed off the area in Longlands and are now hunting the ONH gunmen.