A former Continuity IRA Commander, under death threat from the organisation he once led, has been shot dead in Belfast today.
The dead man, father of four Tommy Crossan (44) an election candidate for Republican Sinn Fein in 2001, fell out of favour with the CIRA faction, amid allegations that he was an informer and using the organisation’s name to extort money from businesses.
The shooting happened in the West of the City on the Springfield Road area, in a complex known to locals as “The Peter Pan” at 5pm. Local reports indicate that Mr Crossan was taken into the yard of a fuel depot in the complex by three men before being shot up to seven times. A priest, father Tony Devlin later arrived on the scene and administered the last rites. The gunmen fled the scene in a red BMW which was later found burnt out in the Beechmount area.
Crossan served five years in Maghaberry for a 1999 gun attack on Woodbourne RUC station. He was later given a suspended sentence for his role in a £50,000 extortion attempt on a Dungannon businessman. It was this sentence which led to rumblings within the Continuity IRA that Crossan had been given a lighter sentence for passing information to Intelligence agencies, and led to a “court martial” in 2011. He had rejected these claims in several newspaper interviews, and openly walked around West Belfast sporting a tattoo saying “Only God can judge me”.