Two gunmen walked into The Heights bar in Loughinisland at around 10.20 pm yesterday. One of the gunman opened fire hitting a number of revellers. They made off in a red car before anyone could identify them.
Five of the victims died immediately after the shootings and a sixth person died later in hospital. A spokeswoman for the Royal Ulster Constabulary said: 'It looks bad. There are fatalities.'
The attack was the latest in a series of sectarian killings as republican and loyalist paramilitaries intensified their shooting war in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, the family of Cecil James Dougherty, 30, a protestant, was in mourning after he was killed when a workmen's hut was raked with gunfire at a building site at Newtownabbey on the northern outskirts of Belfast. Two other men were wounded, one badly.
Dougherty lived with his girlfriend and two-year-old daughter at Rathcoole not far from from where the attack happened. Gunmen looking to murder Catholics were blamed for the murder.
Almost immediately police arrested a man and found a gun in a neighbouring housing estate after a car chase. More weapons were seized later - and in a separate operation guns were also discovered when police stopped a car in east Belfast. Police said two men were being questioned about that killing.
Last night's shooting also evoked terrible memories of the Hallowe'en killings in the Rising Sun pub in Greysteel on 30 October last year, when seven people were murdered by loyalist gunmen in retaliation for the IRA's Shankill Road bomb the previous week.
The latest pub outrage shocked a community still reeling from Friday's flamethrower attack on children sitting exams at a school in Holywood, also Co Down.
Last night police launched a hunt for the gunmen and were still trying to establish what weapon had been used.Reuse content