A police officer who was responding to an emergency call following reports of a “domestic nature” has been shot dead at a house in County Louth in Ireland.
The gunman, believed to be in his 20s, opened fire shooting the Garda and a woman, who is seriously injured, in the town of Omeath at around 6pm on Sunday.
The gunman is then believed to have taken his own life.
Police said the gunman was on bail awaiting trial for dissident republican terrorism after being arrested at the start of the year.
Forensic examinations are taking place at the house today and door-to-door inquiries are expected to be conducted as Gardai attempt to piece together the events leading up to the shootings.
The dead Garda is the 88th member of the force to be killed in the line of duty and the murder occurred in the same region of County Louth where Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was fatally shot in January 2013.
Sky’s Ireland Correspondent David Blevins said: “While the murder of police officers was for a very long time a common occurrence in Northern Ireland, it is still a very rare thing in the Republic of Ireland, and there is real shock across the country this evening,” he said.
“The area around the scene remains sealed off and police have launched a murder investigation. We understand the state pathologist is en route there.”
Tributes to the dead Garda, who is believed to be in his 30s and a father of three, were led by President Michael D Higgins.
“I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the garda who has so tragically lost his life while responding to this incident,” he said.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who represents the Louth constituency, said he was “shocked”.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with the families of those who have died,” he added.
Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident this evening while carrying out their duties.
“At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Garda service are with his family, friends and colleagues.
“This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Siochana, and the dangers they face every day.”