EXCLUSIVE: AN OFF-DUTY policeman arrested two would-be dissident gunmen after they tried to murder him in Co Down.
Belfast Daily can reveal that the Catholic PSNI Close Protection Officer, who was wearing body armour under his clothes, suffered a broken rib after he discharged his Glock personal protection weapon.
The shooting incident happened at the home of the officer in the Springhill area of Bangor around 7.30pm on Wednesday night.
It is understood the gun man fired at the off-duty officer but missed.
But a security source has told Belfast Daily: “The officer, who is formerly a member of the RUC, discharged his Glock pistol the through the roof of his car.
“There appears to have been some sort of struggle and he has sustained a broken rib. He was wearing a bullet proof vest which suggests he may have believed he was under threat.
“What we are now being told is that seconds after discharging his gun, he arrested the two gunmen who tried to kill him.
“There was no messing about with this guy. He is a real cop. You can’t beat the special training he has gone through in his career.
“This would have taken nerves of steel and quick reactions under such a pressure situation.
“No ordinary policeman would have been able to this.
“This Close Protection officer is a total hero in my eyes. I salute him. The fact is he could have taken the gunmen out. Instead, he discharged his gun and made two vital arrests.
“What will probably be galling for him is that the Police Ombudsman will launch an investigation because he discharged his firearm in a public place. Laughable really given that he could have been killed.
“But that is the red tape for you in this job,” added the security source.
It is understood the officer, who is originally from west Belfast, had only been living in Bangor for a short period of time.
Belfast Daily understands the officer had been in contact with an MP and the Police Federation about an issue with work.
The shooting incident is now the subject of an investigation by detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch.
Two men, aged 45 and 52, who are suspected dissident republicans, taken in for questioning by detectives.
Chief Constable Matt Baggott was informed of the attack on one of his officers.
The PSNI said: “Police are currently dealing with an incident in the Bangor West area. No one was injured.
“As a result traffic will be disrupted in the area. At this stage we can’t comment any further.”
Two men, 45 and 52, arrested on Wednesday night in connection with the incident are still in custody assisting police with their enquiries.
The PSNI have placed a number of diversions on roads in the area while their investigations continue.
The top of Springhill Road – the slip road from Belfast Road onto Springhill Road – is closed.
Access to Springhill Avenue and Springhill Heights is also closed.
The top of Belfast Road at the flyover is closed in both directions while the Bangor Road, Belfast bound is closed at the Springhill flyover.
Anyone wishing to access to Bangor Road can do so by West Circular Road and the A2 Bangor onslip.
A police spokesperson said: “Roads are anticipated to be closed for most of the day.”
The murder bid has been condemned by local politicians.
DUP MLA Alex Easton said: “I am deeply shocked that someone has tried to shoot someone in the Bangor area.
“This is deeply, deeply worrying. This is not what we want to see in our streets and I would appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward to the police.”
DUP councillor Alan Graham said: “Nowhere is safe. It’s about people going into an area where people think they are safe. These people just have to get lucky once.”