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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Probe into shooting at checkpoint
Police officers at the scene of the shooting in Ballynahinch

The Police Ombudsman's office has begun an investigation after a man was shot dead at a checkpoint in County Down.

Steven Craig Colwell, 23, from Main Street, Cullybackey, died after he was shot in a stolen car at Church Street, Ballynahinch, at 1130 BST on Sunday.

Three men and two women who were in the car have been released on bail and have been questioned by the ombudsman.

The police officer who fired the fatal shot is understood to be traumatised by the incident.

He was not working on Monday but has not been suspended from duty.

Mr Colwell is believed to have had family connections in west Belfast's Shankill area.

Initial inquiries suggest shots were fired at the silver BMW car following attempts to stop it at the checkpoint.

It is understood police were told that the vehicle had been stolen.

The car, with six people on board, is thought to have travelled from Ballykinlar, about 12 miles away on the County Down coast, and may have been heading for Belfast.


A team of 15 investigators from the Police Ombudsman's office visited the scene on Sunday.

Their inquiry could take several months to complete.

SDLP MP Eddie McGrady has called for an inquiry into the police use of guns.

"This is the second such incident in a relatively short period in which firearms were used in a car pursuit," Mr McGrady said.

"Obviously, a full inquiry is required immediately, and the officers involved should be relieved of their duties, pending clarification of the incident and the code of conduct pertaining to use of lethal weapons."

However, the DUP's Jim Wells said people should not be quick to criticise the police and "act as judge and jury".

"The officer is extremely traumatised by the events of yesterday," Mr Wells said.

"We have to stand by our police and support them in very difficult circumstances."

PSNI shoot man dead at checkpoint
16 Apr 06 |  Northern Ireland

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