IRELAND: Coworkers have described the police officer who was shot in an ambush in Northern Ireland on Wednesday night as “fighting for his life” and highly sedated.
DCI Police announced on Friday that John Caldwell, 48, is seriously ill and has life-altering injuries, while four other suspects are still being interrogated.
As the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five biggest political parties got together to show support for the police, it became clear how badly Caldwell was hurt. After Chief Constable Simon Byrne of the Police Service of Northern Ireland gave them a briefing, the leaders held a joint news conference.
Sinn Féin’s deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill, said, “It is so crucial in situations like this that we stand together, and we do stand here together as one voice in our condemnation against this horrific attack on a police officer, someone who is a member of our community.”
In relation to the assault, four men, aged 22, 38, 45, and 47, are being questioned at the Musgrave serious crime suite.
At about eight o’clock in the evening on Wednesday, at a sports facility in Omagh, County Tyrone, two men shot Caldwell multiple times as he was off-duty and loading footballs into the trunk of his car.
According to the head constable, Caldwell is still in critical condition in the hospital and is “fighting for his life.” The injuries, according to Liam Kelly, head of the Northern Ireland Police Federation, have changed people’s lives.
Reports say that senior officer Caldwell was shot four times. He was in charge of high-profile investigations into paramilitaries and other criminals.
The police stated that the main line of inquiry was focused on dissident republican groups, especially the New Irish Republican Army (IRA), which has launched sporadic attacks on police and prison officers in recent years. No one has claimed responsibility, but police said the New IRA was the primary target of their investigation.
Since a booby trap bomb killed a constable named Ronan Kerr in 2011, it has been the most serious assault on the cops. Since then, numerous attacks have been prevented by police and intelligence agencies.
The worst assault of the Troubles occurred in Omagh, a market town, in 1998, when a car bomb killed 29 people. The Real IRA, a republican dissident organization opposed to the peace process, had left the device behind.
The assault on Wednesday took place 20 miles (32 km) from Strabane, where an IED destroyed a police patrol car in November. There was no harm to the two cops inside.
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