The man murdered in front of his young son in a Bangor supermarket car park yesterday afternoon has been named locally.
Colin Horner, 35, was an associate of leading loyalist Geordie Gilmore, who died after being shot in the neck in Carrickfergus in March.
Mr Gilmore’s son, George Gilmore Jnr, posted a photograph of Mr Horner last night on social media with the words ‘rip big mate’.
Mr Horner is believed to have been moved out of Carrickfergus, and then North Belfast, for his own safety. His murder is part of the ongoing loyalist feud in south east Antrim.
It is thought he had only been living in Bangor for several weeks.
A witness to the shooting said a lone gunman, who was wearing a scarf and hood, fired at least four times at the victim in the car park of Sainsbury’s.
The incident occurred at about 3pm in the packed car park of the supermarket just off the Balloo Link road.
Up to 100 people may have witnessed the shooting and the aftermath.
Police said it was fortunate the victim’s son was not killed.
The victim was targeted next to a black SUV type vehicle on the edge of the supermarket car park.
Superintendent Brian Kee, District Commander Ards and North Down District, described the murder as brutal, senseless and horrendous and warned of the psychological trauma the man’s son has suffered.
“This cold blooded murder was carried out in broad daylight in front of families who were out enjoying this Bank Holiday weekend,” he said.
“The recklessness of this murder is all too evident.
“It is beyond belief that the gunman shot the victim when he was out with his son. This young boy witnessed everything and he will undoubtedly carry that memory for the rest of his life. We are very lucky that we are not also dealing with the death of this child today.”
The victim was wearing shorts and trainers. After he was shot he could be seen lying on his back next to the vehicle.
The front left passenger door of the car lay open while he was treated by a team of paramedics.
One eyewitness said medics worked on him for 45 minutes before he was transferred to an ambulance and driven from the scene under a police escort.
Mr Kee said the gunman showed total disregard for the safety of the public, including other children.
And he appealed for anyone who was in the car park to make contact with the detective unit in the coming days.
Mr Kee said: “At the centre of all of this we have a grieving family and local residents coming to terms with a brutal shooting.”
Management at the Sainsbury’s shut the door to the store after the incident.
Steven Agnew, Stormont MLA for North Down, lives about two miles from the scene of the shooting.
“It’s very shocking that this took place in broad daylight on a busy shopping day with children and families present. A large number of people will have been shocked by this incident,” he said.