The victim was gunned down at point blank range on Friday at 8am (EDT). A single gunman shot the 44-year-old man in the face amidst a busy street, full of eyewitnesses.

Local police have not disclosed the motive behind the attack which took place just meters away from a loyalist mural.

Bill Manwaring, a member of the Ulster Unionist Party, was one of the first on the scene. “By the time I had arrived, it had already happened. Some colleagues were helping put him in the recovery position,” he said.

"The injuries were horrific and young children were on the street when this happened."

An eyewitness said “I thought it was a car backfiring. I heard about four shots and saw the gunmen standing in the middle of the road wearing balaclavas and orange tops. I saw the bloke lying there. I think he was shot in the head or the face."

Assembly representative for the SDLP, Alex Attwood, said “It is a terrible deed, a terrible thing has happened today that a person has been murdered. The people will be traumatized and we have to express our sympathy and urge people to keep calm and not rush to judgment."

Democratic Unionist Party MP, Nigel Dodds, said “Everyone will have been shocked and horrified by this incident where someone has been murdered in broad daylight. No-one has the right to take the life of another human being and we all want to ensure that Northern Ireland continues to move away from times when reports such as this were all too common."

The Shankill Road runs from the city centre into north west Belfast and was the scene of much bloodshed during the troubles. Since the official ceasefires it has witnessed a number of killings linked to internal feuds among loyalist paramilitary groups.

Man shot in face on Shankill Road