Dissident republican terror suspect Matt Johnson held over murder bid on police officer

THIS is one of the three dissident republican terror suspects being questioned by detectives investigating the attempted murder of a police officer on the Crumlin Road on Sunday night.

Matt Johnson was arrested on Sunday night within hours of the cowardly gun attack on a rookie police officer.

The 36-year-old was detained in the Cliftonville Road area of north Belfast.

Security sources said he is well known to the PSNI in north Belfast.

He had previously been arrested and charge but those charges were dropped.

Johnson mocked cops on Facebook by posting a video of his arrest stating:

“Remember this one?

“Judgement today, case dismissed.

“Judge didn’t believe the liar within the PSNI either.

“Night. Night.”

Two men aged 30 and 39 were detained last night under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

They have been taken to the serious crime custody suite at Musgrave PSNI Station for questioning about the attempted murder of the police officer.

All three can be held for up to 48 hours before they are either charged or released.

Detectives can apply to a judge to have their period of detention extended.

The Crumlin Road re-opened to all traffic on Monday night.

The red Audi A4 car police believe was used in the murder bid

Detectives continue to appeal for information about a car they believe was used in the attack.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes from the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit said:

“The investigation into the shooting of a community police officer in North Belfast last night is progressing and I’m appealing for information about a car we believe was used in the attack.

“We would like to trace the movements of a dark red Audi A4 Estate, registration number KNZ 2862.

“It’s around 15 years old – an old-style model. We believe it was used by those involved to leave the scene following the shooting.

“I am keen to hear from anyone who saw the vehicle around the Flax Street and Crumlin Road around 7.30pm last night and in Culmore Gardens about 30 minutes later at 8pm where it was found burnt out. I’d also like to hear from anyone who noticed this car and its movements during December 2016 up to last night’s shooting.

“We have recovered bullets from a number of locations on the forecourt and in several cars.

A high velocity round struck a window at the north Belfast petrol station

Any one of these could quite easily killed or seriously injured local people, including the children who were at the station. Had any of the bullets hit the fuel containers we may have also been facing casualties from an explosion. It was completely reckless.

“I’m pleased to say the community police officer who sustained two bullet wounds to his arm has now undergone surgery and is recovering well in hospital.

“I would ask anyone with information to phone 101 or if you would prefer to remain anonymous contact independent charity Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

A 36 year old man arrested in connection with the incident remains in custody at this stage, assisting police with their enquiries.

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