Man arrested after murder in supermarket car park

Police at the scene of the shooting in the Balloo Link area of Bangor.  PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS
Police at the scene of the shooting in the Balloo Link area of Bangor. PICTURE MATT BOHILL PACEMAKER PRESS

A man has been arrested over the murder of a loyalist in a busy supermarket car park as his three-year-old son looked on.

Colin Horner, 35, was shot dead by a lone gunman among crowds of shoppers outside the Sainsbury’s superstore on the outskirts of Bangor, Co Down on Sunday afternoon.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said a 28-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday night.

It is understood Mr Horner, from Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, recently relocated to Bangor amid fears he would be targeted in the same loyalist paramilitary feud that claimed the life of his friend George Gilmore two months ago.

Loyalist Mr Gilmore, 44, was shot dead in Carrickfergus in March.

On Monday, Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell confirmed a link between Mr Horner’s murder and the long-running Carrick feud between rival loyalists was one line of inquiry.

Officers were trawling through CCTV footage from the store car park in a bid to catch the killer.

The detective said the victim had just strapped his son into the back seat of his black Nissan Pulsar car with the registration XFZ 4706, at 2.45pm when the gunman approached and fired at least three shots from a handgun.

“His three-year-old son was in the car and was immediately beside his father when he was shot dead in front of him,” Mr Campbell said.

“So it’s a hugely barbaric act and something that will undoubtedly live with this young boy for the rest of his life.”

Confirming Mr Horner was known to police, Mr Campbell said he left the home he shared with his partner on the Rathgael Road in Bangor at around 1.30pm.

He said detectives were trying to establish what he had been doing in the hour between then and arriving at the supermarket at 2.30pm.

Officers believe the gunman, who was wearing a dark hoodie and a mask, escaped in a red Ford Mondeo driven by an accomplice.

The car was displaying false plates - GKZ 7996.

This vehicle was later found burned out in the Kerrs Road area between Bangor and Newtownards.

Mr Campell appealed for information about the movements of the Pulsar and Mondeo on Sunday afternoon and urged witnesses in the car park to come forward.

He said vital clues could have been captured on mobile phone videos or dash-cams.