DETECTIVES are hunting a lone hitman who shot dead beside a school in west Belfast.

It’s understood he was sitting in a red sports car parked on the Glen Road near St Mary’s Grammar School at the time waiting to pick up his son.

Police are hunting a lone gunman in his 40s wearing hi-vis vest who approached the car and shot the driver a number of times at close range.

The victim died at the scene despite paramedics racing to the scene.

Local people reported hearing up to five shots after 3 pm this afternoon, Tuesday, December 4, just as pupils at nearby schools filed out for the day.

The shooting happened as dozens of children were making their way home.

A murder investigation is under way.

Police forensic officers are at the scene and the PSNI have erected a large screen across the road.

There was disruption as buses were diverted. Traffic is being sent along Kennedy Way as the area has been cordoned off.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery of the PSNI’ Major Investigation Team said: “Police are currently at the scene of a shooting during which a man died this afternoon.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who saw a man in his 40s, wearing a high vis vest with the words ‘Security’ on the back heading in the direrction of Glen Road, as well as anyone who witnessed the shooting or was in the Glen Road area from 3 pm today, to come forward and speak to police.

“An incident room has been set up in Musgrave Police Station and anyone with information can contact detectives there on 101 quoting reference 741 04/12/18.

“Alternatively information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

West Belfast SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said: “It is absolutely sickening that a gun was fired in the vicinity of both a primary and secondary school in west Belfast today.

“A number of pupils witnessed this fatality and are understandably very disturbed and frightened after this reckless act occurred nearby the school gates.

“There is absolutely no place for this in 2018; this madness belongs in the past and we cannot allow it to once again become our normality.”

Gerry Carroll, People Before Profit, said: “News that somebody has been shot several times on the Glen Road is horrible and deeply concerning and should be condemned by everybody.

“It is especially worrying given the amount of children and young people in the area at that time, that somebody sees fit to pull a gun and open fire in the middle of the day.”

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