Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 16:25 UK

Shooting victim an 'innocent man'

Emmett Shiels
Emmett Shiels was shot dead in Creggan

The man shot dead in Londonderry's Creggan area was an "innocent man" and "murdered in cold blood for no reason", the police have said.

Emmett Shiels, from Tyrconnell Street in the Bogside, was shot in the Bligh's Lane area at about 0045 BST on Tuesday.

Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor said the 22-year-old had became involved in a row by chance, and had not participated in any violence.

Police have recovered two vehicles, one in Creggan and one in Pennyburn.

It is understood Mr Shiels was being chased by a group of masked men across a grassy area near St Mary's Chapel and the city cemetery when he was shot.

He was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital, but died from his injuries.

DCI Taylor said police were following a "definite line of inquiry".

He said a shot had been fired during an earlier incident in Abbot's Walk in the Bogside, and Mr Shiels had encountered those responsible as he was driving along Lone Moor Road in his pizza delivery van.

Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor
Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor said Mr Shiels was an innocent man

Mr Taylor said Mr Shiels was then confronted on Eastway by masked men wearing camouflage suits, and was shot shortly afterwards.

"He became involved purely because he was driving a vehicle along the Lone Moor Road," said Mr Taylor.

"We believe that he knew some of the people involved, and that was why he stopped.

"It is also our belief that he was trying to defend others," he said.

Mr Taylor paid tribute to Mr Shiels, and condemned the people who carried out the attack.

"He was a very highly regarded member of the Derry community, who lived here all his life.

"Those responsible are gangsters who came into the city to carry out a violent attack, and someone ended up dead," he said.

Mr Shiels' family have appealed for his killers to turn themselves into the police "for the family's sake".

His partner was expecting his son.

He was about to become a father himself and that baby's never going to see his father
Emmett Shiels' sister, Maureen Wilkinson

His sister, Maureen Wilkinson, said the family could not bear to think of another family going through the same ordeal.

"I don't know how they can sleep.

"Even out of the love of God or something, go and hand themselves in and give us peace of mind knowing that the perpetrators are behind bars," she said.


Mr Shiels's adoptive father, Patsy Moore, said he had a "fair idea" who was responsible.

"People in the area are helping overwhelmingly," he said.

"They've come out in big numbers and they've given information to the police, and we would appeal to anyone who has any information to hand it over."

His sister said the family was devastated.

"He was a good young fella, he was about to become a father himself and that baby's never going to see his father," she said.

New murder av

A community worker, Sean McMonagle, who assisted him into the ambulance, said the man had confronted a group of men earlier in the evening.

"This young man was shot at point-blank range, just in and around the chest area - in the torso.

"From what I've picked up from talking to young people who were witness to it, was that these people attempted to go for another individual for whatever reason.

"This individual then, along with a group of friends, began to engage with these people, and a consequence of that, the young fella was shot," he said.

A vigil is to be held at the scene on Tuesday evening.

Local people had raised concerns about the initial police response to the shooting, claiming it was nearly three hours after the attack that police cordoned off the area.

Police said they were at the scene "as soon as was practical" and that there had been no risk to the victim by police not attending immediately.

The first and deputy first ministers condemned the shooting, and sent their sympathies to the victim's family.

Victim's family appeal to killers
24 Jun 08 |  Foyle and West
Man dead following city shooting
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