A North Belfast community has been left in shock after a murder investigation was launched into the death of a child on Tuesday night.
It follows an incident at Brompton Park in Ardoyne after 8pm that also left a toddler with serious injuries.
It is understood that a woman has been arrested.
Local representatives have asked the public not to speculate, and have given their thoughts to the “strong and resilient” local community after a “dreadful and difficult” night.
Community group Ardoyne Association said locals need “love and support” in the aftermath.
They said: “As we wake up this morning to the heart breaking news, let us take a moment to think of our neighbours in Brompton Park and emergency services who assisted last night. Our community has witnessed a devastating tragedy.
“While you are reading this message, if your loved ones are beside you, give them a hug or phone them just to say hello.
“We need love and support right now to get through this. If we can assist in any way, just phone our office.”
Following the incident, North Belfast MP John Finucane said: “Police have now confirmed a murder investigation into tonight’s tragic incident in Ardoyne with one person arrested. Our thoughts are with all those involved. I again appeal to everyone to be mindful & not to post or share anything which would add further distress.”
SDLP Councillor Paul McCusker thanked those who helped emergency services.
He said: “Terribly sad news tonight in Ardoyne. Police are continuing their investigations of what happened in Brompton Park.
“We now need to give them time to do this without speculating and think about those involved and the wider family. Lots of shock from residents, some assisting police before the ambulance service arrived.
“Thanks to those who helped tonight.”
PSNI and forensic officers at the scene
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood added: “I’ve never met a stronger community than the people of Ardoyne. We’re all thinking of you tonight.”
Sinn Fein MLA Emma Sheerin described the Ardoyne community as “strong and resilient.”
“Like everyone else, I have no words for this and can only say that my thoughts are with everyone impacted, with all the people of Ardoyne. North Belfast has a strong and resilient community and I know people will rally together in the aftermath of this tragedy,” she said.
Green Party Councillor Mal O’Hara is asking the public not to speculate about Tuesday night’s incident.
“Heart breaking news coming from Ardoyne. Best not to speculate and give our thoughts to the family and community at this difficult time,” he said.
People Before Profit Councillor Fiona Ferguson reiterated this call, as she described the news as “devastating.”
“All my thoughts are with the family involved and the community who are in a state of shock. Few situations are as difficult as this and local support is paramount. Would appeal for people to refrain from public speculation in respect for all involved,” she added.
North Belfast DUP Councillor Dale Pankhurst gave his thoughts to those in Ardoyne after a “dreadful night.”
“A terrible and tragic incident in Ardoyne this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with the family affected as well as the wider community for what has been a most dreadful and difficult night,” he said.
A PSNI spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday night that a child had died and an arrest was made in the murder investigation.
“Police have commenced a murder investigation following the death of child in the Brompton Park area of North Belfast this evening (Tuesday, 27 July) and made one arrest in relation to this.
“The investigation is at an early stage and further information will be provided in due course,” they said.
Following the incident, a statement from NIAS read: “The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 20:16 on Tuesday 27 July following reports of an incident in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast. NIAS despatched a Rapid Response Paramedic and two emergency crews to the scene. Following assessment and initial treatment two patients were taken to hospital in Belfast.”
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