Masked gunmen target two bookmakers across Derry

Thu, 09/02/2012 - 21:58 -- Editor

Masked gunmen targeted two bookmakers in Derry on Thrusday evening.

A lone gunman burst into the bookmakers shop on Central Drive in Creggan at 8.18pm and discharged a single shot into a poker machine before leaving. The PSNI were called and sealed off the area. At one stage Police had to withdraw from the scene after being attacked by stones and bricks thrown by youths.

At 8.28pm two masked gunmen entered Ladbrookes bookmakers shops on the Racecourse Road near the Shantallow House Bar, shouted that they were "from the IRA" and discharged several shots into a poker machine before making off. Staff at the premises were forced to lay on the floor and take cover under tables and counters as the gunmen fired indiscriminately into the premises. Staff are said to be traumatised.

Local MLA Pat Ramsey, who was in contact with staff and families shortly after the attacks, said he was outraged at the incidents.

“I am totally outraged at these attacks," he said. "It is contemptible that staff out doing an evening’s work and innocent people in the bookies have been subjected to this violent and dangerous attack.

“This must have been terrifying and deeply traumatic for employees and customers in the Ladbrokes premises and it is now vital that measures are taken to help them recover from this ordeal.

“We are baffled as to the motive of those behind these attacks. Whatever their rationale the fact is that these shootings are absolutely wrong and completely unjustifiable.

“I strongly appeal for people with information on those responsible for these incidents to pass it onto the police urgently.”

Police are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious in the areas, or has any information on the incidents to contact them on 0845 600 8000.