Sunday 4 December 2016

Gardai have identified the homeless victim of 'mistaken identity' shooting linked to gangland feud

* Gun found by gardai
* Gunman fled the scene on a bicycle
* Shot up to six times
* Intended target well-known to gardai
* Also close associate of 'Del Boy' Hutch

Ken Foy, Cathal McMahon and Ryan Nugent

Published 14/04/2016 | 12:48

Gardai at scene of shooting at Sheriff Street this afternoon
Gardai at scene of shooting at Sheriff Street this afternoon
Scene of shooting at Sherriff Street this afternoon.
Gardai at scene of shooting at Sheriff Street this afternoon
Garda at the scene today
Gardai beside bin containing suspected weapon at scene of shooting at Sherriff Street this afternoon
Scene of shooting at Sheriff Street this afternoon
The scene this afternoon
Scene of shooting in Dublin's north inner city this afternoon

Gardai believe that a young man shot dead in Dublin's inner city this afternoon was an "innocent bystander".

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The victim, named locally as Martin O'Rourke (24) , was shot dead at approximately 12.20pm close to Noctor's pub on Sheriff Street in Dublin 1.

It's understood six shots were fired at the man, who is not believed to be the intended victim of the shooting.

Mr O'Rourke was rushed to the nearby Mater Hospital by ambulance at 12.45pm.

Garda at the scene today
Garda at the scene today

He was declared dead this afternoon at the Mater Hospital.

Independent.ie has learned that the victim was homeless and suffered with drug problems. Gardai used fingerprint technology to identify him as he was not carrying ID at the time.

He had been staying at a homeless shelter in the north inner city. Mr O'Rourke had a partner and a number of children. His family have asked for privacy this evening.

The victim was known to gardai for burglary and minor offences but was not linked to gangland crime.

It is believed he was in the area to buy drugs at the time.

Speaking at a press conference this evening Superintendent Kevin Gralton said a lone gunman involved in the shooting fled the scene by bicycle along Sheriff Street lower, before dumping the push-bike and running in the direction of Seville Place and Gill Street.

A helicopter has also been deployed in the area
A helicopter has also been deployed in the area

He is believed to have covered his face in a scarf and was wearing all-black clothing.

Store Street Supt Gralton said officers believe the victim attempted to flee the gunman but was shot up to six times.

Gardai have sealed off the scene on Sheriff Street as officers conduct their investigation into Ireland's latest gangland shooting
Gardai have sealed off the scene on Sheriff Street as officers conduct their investigation into Ireland's latest gangland shooting
Gardai at the scene on Sheriff Street

"He was alone. The indications thus far was that he [the victim] was seen running from the area but that has yet to be fully established," he said.

Gardai have not yet identified the victim and say that they will be analysing the fingerprints of the victim to full establish his identity.

"If it is who we think it is, I don't see a connection as of yet to the feud. If it is the person we think it was,  yes he would have been [known to gardai]  but on low level stuff.

"I've heard that he may have been an innocent bystander, but can't confirm that," he said.

Independent.ie has learned that gardai recovered a small black handgun from a bin around one hour after the killing.

It has now been sent for forensic analysis to establish if it was the same weapon used in the hit.

The scene on Sheriff Street remains sealed off as officers conduct their investigation into Ireland's latest gangland murder.

Oriel Street Upper cordoned off by gardai
Oriel Street Upper cordoned off by gardai

A helicopter was deployed to the area.

The intended target, who escaped injury, is well known to gardai. He previously received a lengthy sentence for a cash-in-transit raid.

He is a close associate of Derek 'Del Boy' Hutch - the nephew of Gerry 'The Monk'  Hutch - and has been accused by rivals of being involved in the Regency Hotel shooting.

The shooting happened less than 100 yards from a community and childcare centre and minutes before children were to go home for the afternoon and others were due to arrive.

Geraldine Comerford, manager at the North Wall CDP, said: "It's really tragic. It was obviously very, very bad, but it could have been worse.

"There's a young life lost for whatever reason and by all accounts it seems to be mistaken identity, but the reality is that if it is that, then the killers came looking for somebody else.

"It hasn't ended, and then the question is, is it just beginning again?"

David Byrne (33) was shot and killed when gunmen disguised as gardai and carrying AK47s stormed the Regency Hotel during a boxing weigh-in in February.

Taxi driver Eddie Hutch (59) Snr was shot in retaliation at his flat in the North Strand area of Dublin just three days later in retaliation.

Gerry Hutch's close pal - cigarette smuggler Noel 'Kingsize' Duggan - was shot dead  last month. His death has also been linked to the ongoing feud.

The first victim of the bloody war was Gary Hutch (34) who was gunned down after he was lured to a meeting with rivals in Marbella, Spain last September.

An office worker in the area told Liveline that a colleague of his thought she “heard gunfire just before 12.30pm today".

“Just before we realised that there was a shooting – a kid of about three or four years of age came down the street on a balance bike.”

He said the shooting took place close to a youth club on Sheriff Street.

“There’s kids around all day long. There’s a lot of people around all the time," he said.

“It’s a horrible situation for the people who live in the area and the people who work here."

Sinn Fein Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald condemned the murder and called on people with information to go to gardai.

"This ruthless murder is another shocking incident which has taken place in broad daylight in the heart of our capital city," she said.

"The person responsible for this shooting must be brought to justice and I would appeal to anyone with any information whatsoever to bring it to the gardai.

"We cannot stand idly by while these gangsters walk our streets with impunity, while they take life without any fear of being caught and while they have our families and communities living in fear."

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