'Big Ray' Johnston shot dead at home in Belfast 'was killed as family looked on'
A man shot dead last night is said to have been killed as his family looked on.
Ray Johnston, who was in his late 20s, died on the floor of the living room in his home in Glenbawn Avenue, West Belfast, shortly after 7pm on Tuesday, February 13.
His pal said âBig Rayâ was hit twice in the chest after two masked men walked in through the front door. He was on the scene within minutes but was unable to save the painter and decorator.
The local man told Belfast Live : âI worked on him. He had two gunshot wounds to the chest and he was dead where he was lying on the living room floor.
âItâs desperate it actually happened to him and his family, especially with the kids being in. One girl is 15 and the other oneâs nine. Itâs really hard to take in. This place is very quiet and thereâs plenty of kids going about at that time.â
Th e Poleglass man said Ray was âa decent enough fellaâ who had lived in Glenbawn âfor a couple of yearsâ.
Asked if he knew of any motive for the attack, he added: âThere has been something festering but I donât really want to say what it was.â
A police cordon was erected around the manâs home as neighbours looked on.
Detectives from PSNI Serious Crime Branch have launched a murder enquiry following the shooting.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Montgomery said: "The male victim who was in his late 20s died after being shot just before 8pm.
"At this time we are working to establish a motive for the attack and are appealing for anyone with information that may assist us with our enquires to contact us.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives on 101 quoting reference 1192 of 13/2/18 alternatively informa tion can also be provided via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."
Community worker Michael George said: âHis family are in absolute shock, especially his partner. My condolences to them.
âThereâs a lot of fear about at the minute and people speculating as to why this happened. Itâs the last thing our community wants.
âJoe Riley was shot not a couple of hundred yards from here in similar circumstances a year ago.â
West Belfast MP Paul Maskey also expressed his condolences.
He said: âThis was a brutal attack. My sympathies are with the family.â
One source said last night: âThis was not a punishment shooting gone wrong, they went with intent. There was one gunman who made off in a getaway car.â
A motive for the killing is not known at this stage.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Stephen Magennis said: âResidents said they heard two bangs. The next thing was police arrived and the ambulance and they knew something was up. A lot of people tried to help him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
âThey want these people to go back to the shadows. Thereâs a lot of anger.
âNo one supports this kind of action. The people carrying out these attacks are bringing nothing but death and destruction.
âI would appeal to anyone who has any information about this attack to bring it to the PSNI.â
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood added: âThose who think they can take the lives of others into their own hands are wrong.
âLeaving a family and a community paralysed with fear is wrong.â
Ulster Unionist Partyâs Doug Beattie MC MLA said: âI unreservedly condemn tonightâs gun attack in which a man was murdered in the Glenbawn Avenue area of West Belfast.
âNothing can justify such a barbaric act and it is a sad reality that too many of our communities are still being threatened by criminal gangs who seek to impose their will by the threat or use of violence.
âThe rule of law must prevail and the Police must be given the full support of every one in order to rid society of anyone who seeks to bring guns onto the streets for any reason whatsoever. The people responsible for tonightâs murder must be caught and put behind bars for a very long time.âSource: Google News