DETECTIVES believe the dissident republican hitman who blasted to death wealthy drug dealer Jim ‘JD’ Donegan believe he had ‘killed before’.
Drug baron Donegan was shot dead last Tuesday as he sat in his £80,000 flame read Porsche Panamera car in west.
A lone gunman, wearing a peaked cap and Hi Vis jacket with ‘Security’ emblazoned across the back, shot the 43-year-old eight times to the head and body.
The father-of-three died at the scene where he was waiting to pick up his teenage son from St Mary’s Grammar school.
Police have revealed this evening that a 47-year-old has been arrested over what detectives have described as a “barbaric” murder.
He was detained in the Turf Lodge area of west Belfast under the Terrorism Act.
The suspect has been taken to the serious crime custody suite at Musgrave PSNI station in Belfast city centre for questioning.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery of the PSNI’s Major Investigation said it was the “biggest” murder inquiry he had been involved in during his career.
He described the gunman as “cold, calm and callous”, adding: “I believe he has done this before.”
One line of inquiry is that the hitman belongs to a violent dissident republican group in west Belfast who have targeting drug dealers who refuse to pay a “tax” to sell cocaine and heroin.
New CCTV footage shows the hitman mingling with children at a pedestrian crossing moments before he shot dead Donegan in a handgun which he pulled from a black bag.
DCI Montgomery told reporters at the scene a week on from the cold-blooded murder: “I have upwards of 40 detectives working on this inquiry.
“I am having to focus on Jim’s movements throughout the day and that is a huge task.
“And to help me focus I need community assistance and I need information about that gunman.
“I don’t believe he was wearing a mask. He walks amongst this local community and I hope someone can recognise him and pass that information to me.
“The fact that he walked down this road and jogged away after a murder in light of sight of CCTV, I believe he is a very, very dangerous individual who needs to be brought before a court to ensure the safety of the public in west Belfast.”
Two men – aged 49 and 51 – were arrested last Tuesday within hours of the murder for questioning but were later released unconditionally.
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact detectives on the 101 number and asked for extension 17251 or directly on 02890 259524.
Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111.
Donegan, who ran a haulage business in Mallusk, will be buried this Thursday.