An attack on an officer in Derry/Londonderry is being treated as attempted murder after a petrol bomb was thrown directly at him at the scene of a house fire in Creggan yesterday.
The officer was with colleagues who responded to the fire in St. Cecilia’s Walk, which had been reported shortly before 11am. When officers were at the scene a number of young people gathered and threw stones at them. As police remained to secure the scene throughout the afternoon, a petrol bomb, which had been lit, was directly thrown at an officer.
Superintendent Clive Beatty said: "Our colleague was one of several of our officers who had responded to the fire, and was working to keep people safe when he was targeted in such a senseless manner. Thankfully, he acted quickly and prevented serious injury by deflecting the petrol bomb away from his body. He sustained an injury to his hand in doing so, however, he was able to remain on duty and continue to serve our community.
"What happened is unacceptable. No one should go to work and be placed in such a dangerous situation. Were it not for his quick reaction, the consequences could have resulted in serious injury, or worse."
Detectives from Criminal Investigation Branch are leading the investigation into both the fire at the property, which has been ruled as deliberate, and into the subsequent disorder and attack on the officer.
Detective Inspector Gareth Lavery said: “We are treating this horrific attack on our colleague as attempted murder, and I have a number of appeals to make as part of our investigation into the incident, the fire and subsequent disorder.
"In relation to the house fire, this was reported to us at around 10:45am yesterday. The property was vacant at the time and, thanks to the work of NIFRS, the blaze was prevented from spreading to neighbouring properties. There were no reports of any injuries. This incident is being investigated as arson. If you were in the area at around this time, and you have information in relation to what happened, tell us.
"If you were in the area yesterday and captured or witnessed what happened in St. Cecilia's Walk and the attempted murder of our officer, contact us."
The number to call in relation to these incidents is 101, quoting reference number 654 of 10/04/22.
Alternatively, you can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/
The Police Service of Northern Ireland is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone with any information that will assist the investigation to contact us on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.