Murder victim Raymond Johnston blasted to death in his home with a shotgun by dissident republican gunman

DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) are trying to establish a motive for the dissident republican murder of a man in west Belfast light.

Ray Johnston, who was in his late 20s, was blasted to death in front of his family.

He was sitting watching television with his partner when a gunman walked into the living room of his house at Glenbawn Avenue and fired a shotgun off into his chest.

An 11-year-old girl was sitting nearby.

Despite the valiant efforts of paramedic teams, Mr Johnston died at the scene.

Police immediately cordoned off the area and launched its helicopter into the skies in a bid to find the killer.

The murder has been condemned by local politicians who say the community in Poleeglas are “stunned” at the murder – the second in the area in a year.

Sinn Féin councillor Stephen Magennis told BBC Good Morning Ulster people in the area were “stunned and outraged” by the “brutal killing”.

Mr Magennis said the family “had no idea as to why anyone would want to shoot” Mr Johnston.

“I have spoken to some of the victim’s family and friends and they are obviously devastated and in a state of shock,” he added.

“There can be absolutely no justification for this murder which was carried out in the most brutal fashion.”

Mr Johnston had been watching television with his partner on the sofa when a man came into the room and carried out the attack.

An 11-year-old girl was sitting on another chair in the room.

“As far as I know, the girl was in a bit of a state,” said Mr Magennis.

“It was traumatic, and no doubt will be with them for a long time to come.”

Mr Magennis said it was the second time a man had been shot dead in Poleglass in over a year, and those carrying out the attacks were bringing “nothing but death and destruction” to the area.

Local SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said the family and residents had been left “paralysed with fear”.

“Those who think they can take the lives of others into their own hands are wrong,” he added.

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