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Father-of-four Lurgan murder victim was shot several times – including once in back

A man murdered in Lurgan on Thursday evening was shot several times, including once in the back, detectives have confirmed.

Shane Whitla, 39, was discovered lying on the ground in Lord Lurgan Park shortly after 8pm. He died from gunshot wounds.

A 29-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the murder which detectives stressed is not linked to the ongoing investigation around the brutal murder of 32-year-old Natalie McNally in Lurgan just before Christmas.

Superintendent Kellie McMillan, District Commander responsible for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, said: “This totally senseless murder took place in a local park.

“Those responsible have no thought whatsoever for the victim, his family or for the people Lurgan. I condemn their actions in the strongest possible terms.

“I want to reassure the community of Lurgan that police will be conducting high visibility patrolling in the area. Local residents will continue to see an increase in the visible police presence.

“People will see our officers and staff in and around the town. Should anyone have any concerns, or want to ask for help, or advice, please speak to us, we want to help.”

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell added: “Our investigation is at a very early stage and we are working to establish the circumstances of Shane’s brutal murder.

“Shane leaves loved ones behind, including four children. There’s no possible justification for this murder. He was shot a number of times including once in the back.

“No-one should protect the person responsible for this murder. I want to repeat my appeal for anyone with information to please come forward and speak with us.

“Where are you Lord Lurgan Park yesterday evening. Did you see the attack or see or hear anything untoward. Please contact us with information no matter how insignificant it may seem on 101. Our appeal is backed up by £20,000 reward from Crimestoppers and I am keen to stress that information can be given anonymously.

“Finally, I’m aware of speculation in the local community that this may be linked to the murder of Natalie McNally here in Lurgan before Christmas. This is not the case. Police are not investigating any links between these two murders.”

Supt. McMillan confirmed that an officer, who was one of the first responders on the scene, was injured but no further details were released.

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