Mr Welsh arrived outside his address on Chester Street at around 8pm on Wednesday night after training at Holyrood Boxing Gym. He briefly spoke with a neighbour before heading down the steps to his basement flat.
A man then appeared at the top of the stairwell and shot Mr Welsh once in the head. His neighbour heard the gunshot and attempted to perform first aid but the charity worker died as a result of his injuries.
Several eyewitnesses caught a glimpse of a man fleeing the scene towards Walker Street while Mr Welsh’s partner and young daughter sat inside the dwelling unaware of the tragedy that had unfolded.
Detectives are refusing to rule out that an organised crime group was responsible for the fatal attack on the 48-year-old and insist they will delve into his past as part of the extensive investigation in an effort to discover why the father was targeted.
Detective superintendent Allan Burton said: “We have nothing to indicate that it is connected to anything else but we’ve got to bear that in mind and look into the background of Mr Welsh’s lifestyle, association and other crimes that have taken place.
“Mr Welsh’s family are devastated and have no intention of seeking retaliation. We want them to tell us if they know who is involved and what the background is so we can take the necessary steps to arrest those persons.
“Most members of this community in Edinburgh do not keep guns in the house. Someone has had access to a firearm and how they’ve got access will be part of this investigation because the people who provided that weapon are as equally guilty as the one who did the shooting.
“What happened to Mr Welsh has got to have come from his background and the background of his friends and family.
“We need to look at that and the movements over the past weeks, months or even years to see if there’s something there which would be the catalyst of this happening.”
A huge police presence descended on Chester Street with armed officers visible after several reports of a gunshot being heard. The West End community was left stunned as police put up a wide cordon stretching from Drumsheugh Gardens to where Chester Street meets Manor Place.
Officers are putting together a description for the man responsible for Mr Welsh’s murder. Police said Mr Welsh had not been subject to a threat to life letter “recently” but were unable to confirm yesterday if he had ever been issued one.
Early investigations indicate that it was an isolated attack and the culprit was not a risk to members of the public.
“We believe it is a targeted attack on Mr Welsh and nobody in the community was at threat from the shooter and they have now left the scene with no expectation that they will be returning,” said Det Supt Burton.
“I have no idea why someone wanted to hurt Mr Welsh and what the motive was for this dreadful attack. He’s well known in the community, close to his family and is well respected for his charity work. His partner and young child were in the house and never heard the bang. By the grace they were not present or with him entering the dwelling at the time of the shooting because you don’t know how that could have turned out. I can’t imagine the heartache they’re going through. There will be a lot of people will feel the loss of Mr Welsh.
“We have a lady who has lost her partner, a child who has lost her dad, a family who has lost their son and brother and for their sake and for the community, please come forward to find the person responsible for this horrific death. They are devastated and we are supporting them the best we can. It’s not sinking in yet, their whole world has been turned upside down.”
Mr Welsh died at the scene but a post-mortem examination will take place today to determine his exact cause of death.
Police are appealing for anyone in the vicinity with CCTV or dash cam footage who may be able to assist in finding the culprit responsible for Mr Welsh’s murder.
Chief Inspector David Robertson, local area commander for the city centre, said a larger police presence will be visible in the coming days offering reassurance to the public.
Ch Insp Robertson said: “Murders in Edinburgh are extremely rare and the use of a firearm even more so. Mr Welsh was known throughout Edinburgh. I recognise a profound impact of this tragic incident on his friends, family and wider community right across the city.
“I want to stress that Edinburgh remains a safe place to live, work and visit and we are doing everything we can to bring those responsible for this needless death to justice.”
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