The policeman was in his patrol car in Lismore Manor area of Craigavon, Co Armagh, 30 miles away from Belfast when he was murdered. There have been reports that the unnamed man was shot in the head. It is also thought another officer was in the car at the time of the shooting.
It is believed that the pair were investigating suspicious activity near Lismore High School at Brownlow.
Dolores Kelly, a member of both Northern Ireland’s policing board and the nationalist SDLP party, is quoted by the Daily Mail:
‘We are tonight staring into the abyss and I would appeal to people to pull back.
‘I certainly would want to offer my sympathies and condolences to the family of the officer who has been murdered tonight and to the wider police family.’
Real IRA dissidents have claimed to be behind the shooting at the army base.
Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, and Patrick Azimkar, 21, have been named as the soldiers who were killed. They were due to go on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Anthony Watson, 19, from Antrim and a Polish man in his 30s were also injured during the attack.
The Daily Mail reports:
IRA expert Kevin Toolis said: ‘They are saying they are an active physical force as a movement, they are active and violent.
‘They want to destroy British rule in Northern Ireland and anything that provokes a political crisis, a security crisis, obviously works in their favour.
‘The barracks attack was proof of a viable terrorist entity. They have managed to create a viable network that the authorities know nothing of and don’t know what they are going to create.
‘The IRA is unique in human history that they’ve survived for so long. Violent Irish republicanism is like a religion. It is entirely impervious to political reality, generations of democratic elections and the will of the Irish people. These people are fanatics. They have a distorted world view and want to bring down the Good Friday agreement by violence.’