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Detectives granted more time to question suspects in DCI John Caldwell shooting probe

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland said DCI Caldwell has suffered life-changing injuries

Shane Whitla murder detectives

Police investigating the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell have been granted more time to question four of the five men arrested in connection with Wednesday night’s shooting.

A judge granted detectives extra time – until 10pm on Tuesday, February 28 – to detain and question the suspects, aged 22, 38, 45 and 47.

A fifth man, aged 43, remain in custody in the Serious Crime Suite at Belfast’s Musgrave Police Station. All five were arrested in the Omagh and Coalisland areas.

A sixth man – a 71-year-old – was arrested in Omagh on Saturday evening.

DCI Caldwell, who had been involved in the early investigations in the murder of Lurgan mum-to-be Natalie McNally, and more recently, the killing of Lurgan man Shane Whitla and Newry’s Mark Lovell, was peppered with bullets as he loaded footballs into the boot of his car following an underage training session at a sports complex outside Omagh.

He was accompanied by his young son at the time.

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland said he had suffered life-changing injuries.

On Saturday afternoon, DCI Caldwell’s football club, Beragh Swifts FC, organised a walk between the club and Beragh Red Knights GFC – the club were Constable Ronan Kerr was a member when he was murdered in 2011.

A short time later police confirmed they were in attendance at a security alert following the discovery of a suspicious object on the Dervahroy Road in Beragh – a short distance from where the walk took place.

In Omagh, hundreds gathered on Market Street in a rally to end paramilitary violence. The street itself was the scene of the 1998 Omagh bombing which claimed the lives of 29 people – the single most deadly atrocity in Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

Meanwhile, detectives are continuing their appeal for information, photos, CCTV and dash-cam footage which they say can be provide to police through the Major Incident Public Portal here.

If you would prefer to speak to someone please contact the incident room on 101 and and ask for extension 56314. Please quote reference CCS 1831 0f 22/02/23.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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