Published Friday, 26 October 2012
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The 36-year-old victim died in his Longlands Estate home, when at least two men forced their way in and shot him several times at close range on Thursday night.
The officer leading the investigation confirmed that Mr McKay was known to police, but that the murder was "a brutal and ruthless attack which has no place in society".
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea added: "Whatever Daniel did in his life, nothing justifies this action against him.
"Police are working on a number of lines of enquiry. Some of these involve links to drugs and individuals or groups who would associate themselves with dissident groupings."
This investigation will look at Daniel's activities, but today Daniel is a victim.
Detective Chief Inspector John McVea
Officers suspect the men responsible for the fatal shooting may also be connected to the theft of a silver Volkswagen Bora, later found burnt out in west Belfast.
The vehicle's owner had been forced to hand over the keys sometime after 7pm, when five masked men entered his home in the New Lodge.
Mr McKay is believed to have been shot at about 8.30pm, and the car was found just before 9pm at Ardmoulin Place in the lower Falls area.
Appealing for information, Detective Chief Inspector McVea urged the local community to help police with their enquiries.
"Daniel was the son of a mother and father who are now grieving for his loss. He had a partner and a 10-year-old child and those people are grieving his loss," he said.
"Those responsible for this ruthless murder will only be brought before the courts and put behind bars if people with information work with police."
Politicians have expressed disgust at the brutal murder in what is a residential area.
DUP MP for North Belfast Migel Dodds described the killing as "brutal and deeply shocking" and extended sympathy to the victim's family.
"People will be thinking today about how often we used to hear about these kind of killings in the past and making it very clear that we don't want any return to this kind of activity," he said.
Throughout the entire community, people will be sickened by this.
Nigel Dodds, DUP
SDLP councillor for the area Noreen McClelland described the gun attack as "savage and calculated".
She said: "This shooting represents not just a cruel attack on this man, but it is also an attack on the wider community who are appalled at what has happened."
Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O'Reilly added: "There can be no justification whatsoever for this type of attack and those behind it need taken off our streets."
Police say they need to hear from anyone with information about the taking of the Bora from Dunore Court, the shooting at Longlands or the burning out of the Bora at Ardmoulin Place.
They also want anyone who saw the silver car, registration number KLZ 9787, at any time on Thursday night.
Detectives can be contacted at North Queen Street on 0845 600 8000 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.