Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Major Investigation Team have issued a direct appeal for information on the murder of 39-year-old Shane Whitla in Lurgan.
Shane was discovered in Lord Lurgan Park on the evening of Thursday 12 January.
Following a post mortem examination this morning, 13 January, it is confirmed that he died from gunshot wounds.
Superintendent Kellie McMillan, local commander for Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Policing District, described the attack as ‘totally senseless’.
She said: “Yesterday evening, a local man, Shane Whitla, was murdered. Shane was 39 years old.
“He was discovered in Lord Lurgan Park at approximately 8.15pm and, following a post mortem examination today, it’s confirmed that Mr Whitla died from gunshot wounds.
“This totally senseless murder took place in a local park.
“Those responsible had no thought whatsoever for the victim, his family or for the people of 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.”
The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell added: “We have now launched a murder investigation, and my ask is for anyone with any information to please come forward.
“Our investigation is at a very early stage and we are working to establish the circumstances that led to 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.
“I want to repeat my appeal for anyone with information to come forward and speak with us.
“Were you in the Lord Lurgan Park area of the town yesterday evening? Did you see the attack, or see or hear anything untoward?
“Please contact us with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, on 101.
“Our appeal is backed by an award of up to £20,000 from Crimestoppers, and I’m keen to stress that information can be given anonymously. Crimestoppers will never ask for or store any of your personal details.
“The charity, who are independent of the police, is offering the reward for information it directly receives that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Shane’s murder. Contact Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
“Finally, I am 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.”