PENSIONERS living in the Jeffrey Avenue area of Brigade in the Waterside were in shock yesterday after a shooting incident in their quiet estate.
Eight bullets were fired through the window of one of the homes, before a motorcycle was spotted speeding off. The vehicle was later found burnt out in the nearby Lincoln Courts estate. Although three adults were at home when the attack took place just after midnight, no-one was hurt.
Neighbouring the house which was attacked are James and Helen Donaghy, who have been living in Jeffrey Avenue for over 20 years, and say the estate is usually so quiet you “can hear yourself think.”
Helen said: “We heard the shooting. Big, loud bangs. We are here over 20 years since we came down from Irish Street, we have never had any bother before. This is all elderly people here in this street. You wouldn’t see a being up here. There is never any problem with anybody. The neighbours are all very agreeable.”
Another neighbour, 76-year-old Margaret Kincaid, said she had been in her living room reading at around midnight when she heard four loud bangs. “I was sitting here reading and I heard the shooting, just after midnight. I said to myself ‘that’s shooting’, but then I thought it couldn’t be, there’s nobody about.
“I thought it must be fireworks. I heard a bit of commotion later on and the police were there then, and they cordoned off the place.
“When I seen them I knew it must have been shooting. I was a bunch of nerves then, it was two o’clock before I went to my bed. I am totally shocked altogether.
“Nobody has ever had any bother until now. There is a man of 93 next door to them.
“He keeps his door locked all the time...It is frightening to think what might have happened. Nobody wants to see that happening. We’ve seen enough of all that.”
Billy Bourne, an 89-year-old neighbour said: “We have had to take safety precautions around the house because of ongoing anti-social behaviour over the past couple of years.”
Bernadette Innes added: “I feel sorry for the people next door having that happen to them. They are the best of neighbours.”
DUP Alderman, Drew Thompson, speaking from the scene alongside party colleague Maurice Devenney, condemned the shooting.
He said: “This place is so quiet and it’s probably somewhat unreal that we got the message that this happened.
“The house there has eight bullet-holes in the window and it has obviously damaged a lot of stuff inside, but the occupants were in bed and from listening to them, talking to them I understand there were two females in the house.
“They are really shook up and don’t understand why it has happened or why their house has been singled out or anything.
“There is no explanation that we are aware of at this stage and we totally condemn these types of action.”
A police spokesperson said: “Shortly after 12.05am it was reported to police that a number of shots had been fired at a living room window of a house. There are no reports of any injuries.
Two males were seen making off from the scene on a motorcycle. A motorcycle was found burnt out at approximately 12.10 am in the Lincoln Courts area.”
Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or spotted the motorcycle between 12.00am in Jeffrey Avenue and 12.10am in Lincoln Courts to contact them at Strand Road police station or to call Crimestoppers anonymously.