Friday 2 December 2016

'I never knew the meaning of terrified before today' - Journalist left 'looking down barrel of gun' at Regency hotel shooting

Published 05/02/2016 | 19:24

(Photo: Twitter/KevinMcAnena)
(Photo: Twitter/KevinMcAnena)

An eyewitness at a shooting in a Dublin hotel which left one man dead thought he was going to die after he was left "looking down the barrel of a gun".

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One of three gunmen who stormed the Regency hotel on Dublin's northside pointed a gun into the face of Kevin McAnena.

The BBC Radio Foyle sports reporter said he "never knew the meaning of terrified before today".

Speaking to RTE Six One News, Mr McAnena said he heard at least two gunshots outside the hotel before three men stormed into the foyer.

"I heard at least two shots outside, really loud bangs and two men came in holding AK47s," he said.

"They were dressed in garda clothes.

"One ran ahead at this point and most people had run out.

"I almost kind of froze. One guy ran across the lobby and one guy shot a man in the lower leg, he was about six feet in front of me.

he scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon... Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
he scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon... Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

"He is the guy that has now died."

Mr McAnena said he jumped over the reception desk and got on the ground while shouting, "don't shoot, don't shoot."

"I just kept shouting, I could hear the gunfire from the other side.

"One of the gunmen leaned over and he was pointing the gun at me and I was still shouting 'don't shoot, don't shoot'.

The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon... Picture Colin Keegan
The scene of a shooting at the Regency Hotel on the Swords Road this afternoon... Picture Colin Keegan

"He said something I can't recall now. And then he left and that was the end of the episode, I didn't hear any more gunfire."

He continued: "When he was holding the gun down at me, I was looking down the barrel and I was thinking at this point, 'I'm going to die'.

"I never knew the meaning of terrified until this afternoon."

The journalist said he hid under the reception desk with the receptionist for a minute or so before they went into a small room.

They remained in that small room for almost an hour before they called gardai and asked was it safe to come out.

"The whole thing was so surreal it's hard to make sense of it right now, seconds seem like minutes and vice versa," Mr McAnena said.

"We worked out it couldn't be gardai, even though they were wearing the uniforms people got shot so indiscriminately, we figured they were people dressed up like gardai.

"We rang the gardai and they told us there were units in the hotel and we could come out.

"When we came back out to the foyer there was a garda tent around the man who had been shot.

"Detectives took us in and took statements at that point.

"Everyone was just dumbfounded," he continued.

"Nobody could make sense of what happened.

"We were just at an ordinary run-of-the-mill event and then this happens."

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