Three men have been arrested in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black, who was gunned down early Thursday morning, on a stretch of motorway in Co. Armagh.

Colin Duffy, aged 44, and another man aged 31, were arrested in the Lurgan area of Co. Armagh, reports Sky News.

A 29-year-old suspect was also detained in in Co Leitrim and taken to Carrick-On-Shannon garda station under Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939, reports the Irish Independent.

A father-of-two, Black was ambushed on the M1 motorway at about 7:30am, on his way to work at the high security Maghaberry prison in Co Antrim, on Thursday morning at around 7:30am.

The Toyota Camry car used in the attack, was later found burned out in the Inglewood area of Lurgan.

The 52-year-old prison officer, from Cookstown, Co Tyrone, had served in the Prison Service for more than 30 years and was considering early retirement. Black has become the 30th prison officer killed in Northern Ireland since 1974, but was the first prison officer to be killed in the British territory since 1993.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched a scathing attack on those responsible.

“Yvonne Black has lost a husband, her children Kyle and Kyra have lost a father and Northern Ireland has lost a good hard-working son,” he said on Friday.

He added:"We condemn this murder unreservedly and the Tánaiste and I have pledged full support, full information and full response to the authorities in Northern Ireland and the PSNI.

"We do not want to see a return to this, nobody on this island wants to see a return to this."

British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attack and insisted those responsible would be brought to justice.

“First and foremost, this is a dreadful tragedy for the family and friends of David Black, who has been so brutally murdered as he went about his work keeping the people of Northern Ireland safe. My heart goes out to them,” Cameron said.

“The government I lead will do whatever we can to help the PSNI bring the perpetrators to justice.

“These killers will not succeed in denying the people of Northern Ireland the peaceful, shared future they so desperately want.”

According to, The Blacks' family friend, Presbyterian minister Rev. Tom Greer said they wanted no extremist retaliation against the IRA's host Catholic community.

"His wife, Yvonne, is in pieces. She is broken," Greer said. "His children Kyle and Kyra, who are in the 17 to 21 age group, are stunned. They simply cannot take it in, but they are being very courageous."


Forensic officers search the scene on the M1 motorway where prison officer David Black (inset) was shot as he drove near the town of Lurgan, Northern IrelandReuters/Pacemaker