A man shot in a gun attack in Carrickfergus on Monday has died, it is understood.
The victim, named locally as Geordie Gilmore, was a well-known figure in the town and his murder has sparked fears of a bloody feud erupting.
He was blasted as he sat in a car in the Pinewood Avenue area of Carrick at around 2.15pm.
The gun attack came after the 44-year-old’s Facebook account carried a post on Sunday stating: “The days of the uda putting people out of Carrick are over….”.
Sources fear the murder will lead to more bloodshed as it comes in the wake of long standing tensions between rival factions, some of which are said to be linked to elements of the UDA.
The Carrickfergus area was swamped with police after the gun attack and there has been a significant police presence since yesterday.
Mr Gilmore was shot at least once in the neck and it is understood that up to seven shots were fired at the victim.
Images from the scene yesterday showed a large police presence in the area and roads sealed off. At least one house was raided by heavily armed officers, with the lead officers pointing Tasers as they entered the property. Some of the squad were also wearing gasmasks.
Police confirmed this after that they have launched a murder investigation after the death.
The gunman is believed to have fled the scene on foot.
Head of Serious Crime Branch, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: “Our thoughts are with the Gilmore family at this time as they come to terms with their loss.
“We are still at an early stage of the investigation, which is now a murder investigation, and while we have definite lines of enquiry I would appeal to local people to help us identify the person or persons who orchestrated and carried out this ruthless attack in broad daylight.
“Those involved had no consideration for the local community when they carried out their attack in a residential street populated with families, young children and older people. Help us remove them from your community and place them before the courts.
“I would urge anyone with information or who believes they can assist the investigation in any way to please come forward. You can call police on 101 or if you would prefer to provide you information anonymously you can by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs condemned the murder and ongoing violence in the town.
He added: “These vicious attacks are shocking reminders that there are still people in our society who are prepared to use extreme violence to exert control in parts of the community.
“The events in and around Carrickfergus over the past few days have been horrendous. Action needs to be taken to bring a degree of security to the entire community.
“I support a strong security response by the PSNI to ensure guns are found and removed, so that no one else is caught up in the cross fire of a bloody feud which has gone on for far too long.”
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