A LOYALIST shot dead yesterday in front of his young child outside a supermarket begged for his life.
But the UDA hitman ignored Colin Horner’s pleas for mercy and blasted him to death as he clutched his young son.
Horner, 35, was a close ally of Geordie Gilmore snr who was shot dead in Carrickfergus in March this year as part of a feud within South East Antrim (SEA) UDA.
It is understood Horner had fled Carrick over rising internal tensions and was living with his family off the Balloo Road, just a short drive from the murder scene.
The gunman struck at Sainsbury’s car park off Bangor’s Ring Road around 3.30 pm.
Scores of families witnessed the cold blooded murder as they carried out their weekend shopping.
The victim was getting out of his black SUV at the Balloo Link retail park holding his three-year-old son when a gunman approached him, opening fire at close range.
One stray bullet smashed through an empty parked car
His son was uninjured and the suspect fled on foot to a waiting getaway car.
It was found by police on fire half a mile away at the North Down and Ards council recycling depot.
Paramedics arrived in minutes and worked on the victim for almost an hour before taking him to A & E at the Ulster Hospital but he was dead on arrival.
PSNI Superintendent Brian Kee condemned the killing as “brutal, senseless and horrendous”.
“This cold-blooded murder was carried out in broad daylight in front of families who were out enjoying this Bank Holiday weekend,” he said.
“The recklessness of this murder is all too evident.
“It is beyond belief that the gunman shot the victim when he was out with his son. We are very lucky that we are not also dealing with the death of this child today.
“At the centre of all of this, we have a grieving family and local residents coming to terms with a brutal shooting in the heart of their community”
He added: “The gunman also showed total disregard for the safety of the public, including other children, who were in the car park at the time of the attack.”