Joe McCann was an Irish Republican Army and later Official Irish Republican Army volunteer from Belfast
Joe McCann on the 9 August 1971 when his unit took over the Inglis bakery in the Markets area and fortified it after the introduction of internment without trial by the Northern Ireland authorities . They defended it throughout the night from an incursion by 600 British soldiers, looking to arrest paramilitary suspects. The action allowed other IRA members to slip out of the area and avoid arrest. He was photographed during the incident, holding an M1 carbine, against the background of a burning building and the Starry Plough flag he was killed on 15 April 1972 in Joy St in The Markets. McCann had been sent to Belfast by a member of the Dublin command as he was at the top of the RUC Special Branch wanted list. He was told by the Official IRA Belfast command to return for his own safety to Dublin. However he ignored their requests and remained in Belfast.
The RUC Special Branch was aware of his presence in Belfast and were on the look out for him. he was spotted by an RUC officer on the morning of his death who reported his whereabouts to the British Parachute Regiment, who were carrying out a road block in the immediate area at the time. McCann was approached by the RUC officer who informed him that he was under arrest. McCann was unarmed and tried to run to safety when confronted by the soldiers. He was shot dead at the corner of Joy Street and Hamilton Street after a chase on foot through the Markets.
Ten cartridge cases were found close to his body, indicating that he had been shot repeatedly at close range. Bullet holes were also visible in the walls of nearby houses.