THE prison officer who died after shots were fired at his car on the M1 near Portadown yesterday morning was close to retirement.
Father-of-two David Black (52) from the Cookstown area, was travelling to work at Maghaberry Prison when the shooting happened between Portadown and Lurgan.
A car with Dublin registration plates drove up beside him and fired a number of shots. His car veered into a ditch.
Mr Black suffered a number of serious and potentially fatal gunshot wounds. Police are investigating a link between the murder and a burnt-out car found in Lurgan.
Mr Black, who had a son and daughter, had served in Magilligan, the Maze and most recently at Maghaberry during a 30-year career. He is the first member of the security forces to be killed here since PSNI officer Ronan Kerr in April 2011.
He is the 30th member of the Prison Service to have been murdered in Northern Ireland since 1974.
A close colleague of the murdered man at Maghaberry said he and fellow staff had been left shattered by his murder. “We are sickened, absolutely devastated, we can’t believe this has happened.
“He was a great family man. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in the staff at Maghaberry would have had a single bad word to say about him. He was about to retire, he was one of a group of officers who were told that they would be given their redundancy package on March 31. But they stayed on and now this has happened, it’s absolutely devastating.”