THE senior detective probing the dissident republican murder of former Continuity IRA boss Tommy Crossan has branded his killing as “brutal and ruthless”.
Supt Jonathan Roberts, of the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit, said police are investigating whether former dissident republican comrades shot the father-of-six who had been under death threat.
Crossan was blasted twice at his fuel yard just off the Springfield Road on Good Friday. His body was found by his daughter in a portable cabin he ran at the fuel yard.
Said the top detective: “At around 4.45pm Mr Crossan was shot a number of times at close range in his upper body area as he sat in the office of the business of a family friend within the Peter Pan complex.
“A red coloured BMW, believed to be linked to the murder, was found burned out a short time later in the Beechmount Grove area of the city. It has not been reported as stolen to the police, however there have been a number of sightings of the vehicle in the area over recent weeks.
“We are appealing for anyone who may have been in the area around this time Friday afternoon and who may have witnessed any unusual or specific activity or vehicles in the area.
“We are particularly appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the red coloured BMW car, registration number OEZ 9177, which was seen leaving the area around the time of the murder or anyone who may have seen it in the Beechmount Grove area later on.”
Crossan was booted out of CIRA accused of pocketing funds from the CIRA and being a police informer.
Supt Roberts added: “The murder of Mr Crossan on the Springfield Road yesterday was a brutal and ruthless attack which has no place in society.
“Mr Crossan was known to police but no matter what his lifestyle was, absolutely nothing justifies this barbaric action against him.
“Police are working on a number of lines of enquiry. One line of enquiry centres on individuals or groups who would associate themselves with dissident groupings, however we are keeping an open mind.”
A 26-year-old man was arrested near to the murder scene in West Belfast on Saturday and is in the serious crime suite in Antrim for questioning.
“I am appealing for further information and police are grateful to those elected and community representatives who have already urged people to come forward to police,” added Supt Roberts.
“Those responsible for this ruthless murder will only be brought before the courts and put behind bars if people with information work with police.
“We have set up a murder incident room and are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information which can assist us.
“We would urge members of the public to contact detectives on the special incident room number on 02890 259542 or alternatively anyone wishing to pass information anonymously can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.”