Sunday 30 April 2017

Gardai shoot gunman in pub stand-off

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

ARMED gardai last night dramatically foiled an apparent murder bid after shooting a young man who had threatened staff and customers with a shotgun in a busy pub.

The man – who is in his 20s – was fighting for his life after he was shot by Cork-based members of the Garda Regional Support Unit (RSU).



He was shot after he had repeatedly ignored shouted warnings from RSU officers to drop his firearm and surrender to gardai.



It is the first time RSU officers have been involved in such a shooting, with their only previous armed intervention being the use of a Taser stun gun in Limerick.



The drama unfolded after the armed man walked into the Mo Chuisle Pub on Cork’s Blarney Street at 6.40pm. He was carrying a shotgun and asked for an individual by name. The individual was not on the premises at the time – but the man then proceeded to threaten customers and staff, demanding to know the whereabouts of the named man.



A passerby spotted what had happened and alerted Gurranabraher garda station.



An RSU team was already in the vicinity and they arrived within minutes of the alarm being raised.



Several armed officers entered the pub and demanded that the man drop the shotgun and surrender.



However, the man ignored the orders and turned, apparently sweeping the shotgun towards pub customers.



One garda source said the man’s action was deemed to represent a serious threat to both pub patrons and the RSU officers so he was shot in an effort to incapacitate him.



A number of shots were discharged and the young man was hit at least once in the stomach.



An ambulance was called and he was transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH), where he was undergoing emergency surgery last night.



The young man’s condition is understood to be critical.



Gardai immediately sealed off the scene and assisted the traumatised customers and staff out of the pub. Detectives were investigating whether the incident may be linked to the tragic death of Anthony Hennessy (41) outside the Mo Chuisle pub in March 2008.



An inquest in 2009 heard that Mr Hennessy – who collapsed outside the Cork pub after being refused alcohol – died of neck compression.



A post-mortem found acute alcohol consumption was a contributory factor.



Gardai were also investigating whether last night’s incident is linked to an earlier shooting at the Mo Chuisle Bar in October 2008, five months after Mr Hennessy’s death.



On October 5, 2008, a single blast from a sawn-off shotgun was fired at the pub following a verbal warning from a masked gunman for customers to get out of the way.



Warning



The gunman approached the pub on a motorcycle – and then stood in the doorway before warning patrons to get out of the way. He then sped off following the shooting.



Last night’s incident will now be the subject of a full review by the Garda Ombudsman’s Office in accordance with normal procedures.



The pub remained sealed off pending a detailed examination of the scene by technical and forensic experts.



Gardai began taking detailed statements from customers and pub staff and will also examine CCTV security camera footage from the area to try to determine the movements of the young man in the minutes before last night’s shooting.

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