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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK
Murder victim 'stood up to thugs'
Danny McGurk: Murder victim
Daniel McGurk: Murder victim
The mother of a man murdered at his west Belfast home has said her son was killed because he had stood up to "thugs and drug dealers".

Daniel McGurk, 35, was shot dead at his home in the nationalist lower Falls area at about 1100 BST on Sunday.

Dissident republican paramilitaries are being blamed for the murder of the father-of-six.

His mother, Mary McGurk, said the men who murdered him were drunk.

The 73-year-old said: "Danny didn't do anything, and I mean anything.

"It wasn't even a punishment shooting. It was because he stood up to thugs and drug dealers.

Mary McGurk
Mary McGurk: Said gunmen were drunk
"They came staggering in with guns. They were drunk at the time at half past ten in the morning.

"They shot him in the back and they shot him in the legs."

Mrs McGurk appealed for no retaliation for her son's killing.

Police have said they are keeping an open mind about the murder.

Residents said Mr McGurk was shot several times after he opened the door of his home in Ross Road to the gunmen.

Mr McGurk who was hit in the chest, thigh and ankle was taken to the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital, where he later died.

Neighbours said his wife and some of his children were at home at the time of the shooting.

It is not known how many gunmen were involved.

'Cowardly attack'

Detective Superintendent Hugo Frew of the PSNI said it was a cold-blooded murder.

"This was a very brutal and cowardly attack, carried out without thought for Mr McGurk's family or the community," he said.

"The people who carried this out intended to terrorise the entire community.

"Our inquires are at a very early stage, and we are keeping an open mind as to the motive.

"However, the possible involvement of dissident republicans is something that we are looking at."

Northern Ireland Office minister John Spellar condemned the murder as "cowardly and barbaric".

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams: Condemned "brutal and senseless" killing

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams also condemned the killing.

"There is a great sense of anger and outrage within west Belfast at the brutal and senseless murder of Danny McGurk," said the Sinn Fein leader.

He said Mr McGurk had been the "victim of gangsterism and thuggery".

SDLP councillor Margaret Walsh said she had been told the man was threatened by dissident republicans last week.

"The story in the community at the minute is that he had a run in with someone and they told him last week that they were going to shoot him," she said.

"People feel that this has been the result of that. Whether that's true or not, I don't know but whatever happens no-one has the right to take his life from him."

Detectives at Grosvenor Road have appealed for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area to contact them.

BBC NI's Shane Glynn reports
"Police are keeping an open mind as to a motive for the killing"

Police launch murder inquiry
18 Aug 03  |  Northern Ireland

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