Sunday 23 October 2016

Father fights for life after being shot in the arm and back

Robin Schiller and Ken Foy

Published 22/08/2016 | 02:30

Shooting victim Jason Kearns
Shooting victim Jason Kearns

A new father of one has been left fighting for his life after being blasted twice at his Dublin home in the early hours of the morning.

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Jason Kearns (30) was with his partner and two friends when a man with a handgun fired up to five shots at him.

The shooting is not believed to be linked to the ongoing Hutch-Kinahan feud, which has so far claimed 10 lives.

Kearns was recently convicted of being in possession of €35,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine.

However, despite the conviction, he is not believed to be involved in serious criminality and gardaí were not aware that his life was under threat.

He had only recently become a father for the first time.

Gardaí at a house on Stannaway Road, Crumlin Photo: Damien Eagers
Gardaí at a house on Stannaway Road, Crumlin Photo: Damien Eagers

The shooting happened yesterday at approximately 2.30am on Stannaway Road in Crumlin.

It is understood that the victim was watching the UFC coverage ahead of Conor McGregor's fight in an upstairs room when he went down into his kitchen.

A gunman appeared from the back garden and blasted Kearns twice, hitting him in the arm and back.

He was rushed to St James's Hospital, where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Sources said that it was a "miracle" that Jason Kearns had survived the hit, which has left a bullet lodged in his lower back.

Investigating gardaí were unable to interview him yesterday afternoon due to the severity of his injuries.

A number lines of inquiry are being investigated, with gardaí trying to determine if the shooting is linked to the drugs that the victim was caught with.

Sources said that Kearns had links to a criminal gang operating in Clondalkin, where he is originally from. Kearns received a five-year suspended sentence in May.

The court heard how the accused had been put under pressure to hold the drugs after a criminal gang had made threats to his brother.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was "a borderline case" but accepted that Kearns had fully co-operated with the gardaí and had minor previous convictions before she imposed the five-year sentence, which she suspended in full on strict conditions.

Jason Kearns told officers he had been made store the drugs because of a debt that his brother had run up after drugs he had been holding were seized by gardaí.

Colm O'Briain SC, defending, said his client's partner had their first baby at the end of last month.

He said Kearns had worked in retail management, as a lifeguard and in a sports shop but that he was on social welfare at the time of his arrest.

Counsel said Kearns's brother was "out of the jurisdiction" because threats had been made against him after a drugs haul that he had been holding was seized by gardaí.

Jason Kearns was then put under pressure to take on his brother's drug debt.

Mr O'Briain submitted that Kearns's role was at the "lesser end" of the drugs operation.

One neighbour described him yesterday as a "gentleman".

"He is a very nice man, he has only been living here for a number of years, it's just awful. He would bring me over dinner sometimes, and take out my bins for me. He's a very good neighbour to have and it's shocking," the woman said.

Another neighbour - who had only moved into their new home on Saturday night - said that they didn't hear any gunshots and expressed their surprise to see gardaí at the house yesterday morning.

The scene of yesterday's shooting was sealed off throughout the day, with a garda forensic team carrying out a technical examination of the house.

Detectives from Sundrive Road are investigating and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

No arrests have yet been made and investigating gardaí are following a number of lines of inquiry.

Irish Independent

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