Friday 30 September 2016

Garda responding to 999 call murdered by terror suspect

* IRA terror suspect shoots garda dead, injures woman
* Gunman had been on bail
* Garda Golden was proud husband and father-of-three
* Locals shocked at 'murder-suicide'

Paul Williams

Published 12/10/2015 | 02:30

An IRA terror suspect out on bail shot dead a garda responding to a domestic incident last night.

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The unarmed and uniformed officer murdered in the gun attack was a married father of three.

The officer, Garda Tony Golden, was responding to a 999 call that a woman felt threatened in a domestic incident in the village of Omeath, Co Louth.

She was also seriously injured in the hail of bullets and was being treated in hospital. The gunman – named locally as 24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin – then turned the handgun on himself, taking his own life.

The killing of the courageous young garda caused widespread shock and revulsion. Tributes were paid to the slain officer by his superiors and the government.

Read more: Garda Golden made the ultimate sacrifice

Read more: Garda gunned down in murder suicide was 'an Irish hero who put his life on the line for his community'

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of her colleague while carrying out his duties.

"At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Garda service are with his family, friends and colleagues," she said.

"This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Síochána, and the dangers they face every day."

Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron

Garda Representative Association President Dermot O’Brien described Garda Golden as a 'hero'.

“Ireland has lost a hero; he laid his life on the line for the community he served," he told Newstalk's Breakfast this morning.

Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron

“Tony was a married man with three young children, and yesterday he went to a call and, sadly like all members of An Garda Síochána, his dedication to serve and protect has ended with the tragic loss of his life.” 

The series of events which led to the shootings unfolded at a house in the Mullach Alainn estate in Omeath, Co Louth, on the Cooley Peninsula around 6pm.

Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a shooting in Omeath, Co Louth where two people including a Garda where shot dead. Picture:Arthur Carron

Read more: Slain garda was 'a lovely man... a gentleman'

Garda Golden, who was in his 30s and married with young children, was confronted by the gunman, who was armed with a hand gun.

Mackin, who was on bail for terrorist offences, also shot a young woman before turning the gun on himself.

The injured woman was described as being in a critical condition last night and there were reports that young children may have been in the house at the time.

"She was a really nice girl. She worked in a salon, to feed her kids. She was doing her best," said a local man.

The Irish Independent has learned that the injured woman had previously reported Mackin to gardaí in the past and felt she was in fear.

She had reported an incident to gardaí on Friday which was being investigated.

It is understood they gave the woman advice and told her they'd pass by the house regularly while on patrol. It is understood that a second incident flared in the house yesterday evening and the woman called gardaí to say she was afraid he would kill her.

Her worried relatives had also called the gardai local sources said.

Read more: Tragedy reminds us gardaí risk their lives

The shooting began shortly after gardai arrived and Garda Golden entered the house.

Locals raised the alarm and a massive emergency response unfolded, with emergency services racing to the scene.

It is alleged a Northern-registered BMW car seen driving away from the scene was later stopped by the PSNI in Newry.

A Garda source said the motorist, a Polish national, may be a potential witness to what happened in the quiet housing estate.

Speaking to RTE Radio One, Minister Fitzgerald said the incident is a 'stark reminder' of the dangers gardai face on a daily basis.

"Today is a tragic incident, it is a stark reminder of the risks gardai face day to day trying to make the community safe.

"This was a young garda going out at 6pm on a Sunday evening, going out to do his job.

"Gardai go out everyday, it takes courage to do their job, going out to face the unknown as they do on a daily basis," she continued.

"My thoughts are with members of Garda Siochana and the challenging job they do.

"The entire country will be thinking about that.

"They will understand the Garda Siochana and the difficult job they do."

Responding to the reports that Garda Golden attended the scene of a domestic incident alone, Minister Fitzgerald said:

"The reality is gardai around the country go out and do their job everyday under all circumstances.

"The investigation at present is to understand the precise circumstances of the incident."

Children

Garda Golden was attached to Omeath station had more than 10 years' service and lived with his family in Blackrock near Dundalk. His three children are all under the age of eight.

The dead garda is the 88th member of the force to be killed in the line of duty and the murder occurred in the same region of Co Louth where Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was fatally shot on January 25, 2013..

Mackin was known to both the PSNI and the Gardai as an active member of the IRA.

He had been questioned about terrorist offences on a number of occasions in the past and was charged with IRA membership before the Special Criminal Court in January.

Read more: The murder of second garda leads to a 'corridor of lawlessness' in border area

The killer had been arrested following a number of searches carried out in Dundalk and Newry as part of a joint garda and PSNI investigation into the activities of dissident Republicans. Mackin was subsequently granted bail in the High Court.

It is understood Garda Golden was previously stationed in Cabinteely.

Community

President Michael D. Higgins last night said that he had already expressed his deepest sympathies to the Garda Commissioner on the terrible loss of a young member of the force while doing his duty on behalf of the State.

"This most serious and tragic incident has not only led to the death of a member of An Garda Siochána, while on duty, but tragically has also involved the death of one and the serious injury of another person," he added.

Local residents said they were shocked at the murder suicide in the quiet area.

Read more: Gunman had been on bail after he was charged with membership of the IRA

Small groups of men and women consoled one another on the streets around the Mullach Alainn estate as initial forensic examinations of the house got under way.

Jacinta Black, a native of the area, said: "We are devastated for the garda's family. He had three young kids.

"It's terrible that a man can leave his family at 2pm to do a shift and never make it home again."

Garda Representative Association President Dermot O'Brien said members were shocked and saddened by the news.

"This puts everything we do into perspective. At this time of distress, the garda family will be doing everything possible to support the late garda's relatives and loved ones, friends and colleagues," he said.

Irish Independent

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